In eight seasons as a franchise the Bobcats have had to depend on the draft and trade market to improve the team. The most common trade has been for regressed, high-priced perimeter players. The Bobcats continued this by acquiring Ben Gordon from the Detroit Pistons, in exchange for Corey Maggette. The Pistons paid a high price to rid themselves of the $25.6 million left on Gordon’s five-year, $58 million contract signed in 2010 by adding a protected, future first round pick to the deal. But for the Bobcats, getting Gordon was more than just about getting a future asset in a draft pick.
In 2007, Jason Richardson was acquired in a draft night deal that sent the eighth overall pick to the Warriors, who turned out to be Brandan Wright. Richardson, who was a dependable scorer for the Warriors for five years, had a dropoff season in the 2006-07 season, averaging just 16 points per game and shooting one of the lowest field goal percentages of his career. With Charlotte, Richardson returned to form, averaging over 21 points per game and increasing his player efficiency rating from 15.5 to 18.4 in the 2008 season.
In 2009, the Bobcats tried their hand with another disgruntled Warriors guard in Stephen Jackson. At the time Jackson and head coach Don Nelson were clashing, and Jackson was jettisoned out of town. He was traded to Charlotte nine games into the 2010 season with Acie Law in exchange for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic. Jackson played all 72 games post-trade for the Bobcats in route to their first franchise playoff birth and put up all-star caliber numbers of 21.1ppg, 5.6reb and 3.4ast.
LIke Richardson and Jackson, the Bobcats were hoping Maggette would be a respectable veteran scorer for them, but injuries derailed any chance of a renaissance year. On a team void of offensive talent the Bobcats could find themselves depending on the streakshooting of Gordon. He had trouble finding a consistent role in Detroit, and from jump was never a great fit with their personel. Despite that, the past two seasons Gordon shot around 44% from the field, over 40% from three and an efg% of more than 50% on jumpshots. These shooting numbers closely resemble his best years as a Bull, where he was a main source of offense.
At just 29 years old it’s hard to believe Gordon can’t come close to replicating his best years. He’s likely to receive a lot more shots than the career lows in field goal attempts he was seeing in Detroit, which should increase his scoring impact. Whether it’s off the bench or as a starter, Gordon’s never had trouble embracing either role. Gordon’s scoring could help fellow UCONN guard Kemba Walker be more comfortable offensively, as well as Gerald Henderson who saw an improvement last season. The Bobcats made it a priority to get some veterans in the lockeroom this season with the additions of Gordon, Brendan Haywood and Ramon Sessions. All could be good contributors this season, but as we approach training camp Gordon might present the best chance for reward.
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