After signing a five-year, $58 million contract with the Detroit Pistons in 2009, Ben Gordon struggled to live up to lofty expectations in the Motor City. The Pistons sent him to the Charlotte Bobcats last summer along with a future first round pick in exchange for Corey Maggette. Gordon was looking to return to form in Charlotte and embrace a larger role on a scoring-deprived Bobcats team.
Before the season, the thought was Gordon could improve the Bobcats in late-game situations and give them a resemblance of a closer. Unfortunately, it never happened. Gordon, the Bobcats highest paid player, played in 75 games with the Bobcats this season. Gordon has a player option for $13.2 million next season, which he is expected to exercise. It’s unclear whether Gordon will get a second stint in Charlotte in 2013-14, but lets see what our writers had to say about BG’s first run in the Queen City:
Bryan’s Grade: C
Gordon’s season can be boiled down to one word: Meh. He was pretty aight. In fact, the most exciting part of the year for Gordon was his little spat with Mike Dunlap in practice. Charlotte brought him in largely because of the future first round draft pick he came with in return for Maggette, and no matter how “meh” he is next year (he’s definitely picking up his hefty player option), that draft pick will be worth it in the end.
As far as his on-court play this year, Gordon didn’t do much of anything well, but he didn’t do anything too poorly, either. He scored 11.3 points, recorded almost two assists and grabbed 1.7 boards in just over 20 minutes per.
Nate’s Grade: B-
Gordon played up to many of the expectations that both fans and media outlets had set for him prior to the 2012-2013 season, but not beyond them. While it was pleasant to see him actually meet these (score in bunches, three-point threat off the bench), it was unfortunate to see Gordon not try harder on the defensive end. It was also rumored that both Dunlap and Gordon feuded during practices over the course of the season, which might have lead to a career-low 11.2 ppg in a career-low 20.8 mpg. Then again, Dunlap’s focus on defense may also have contributed to lower all-around numbers for the former Sixth Man of the Year, who only averaged 0.5 spg and 2.7 rpg.
For the price, though, Gordon’s contributions can’t be overlooked; his scoring punch off the bench helped relieve some stress for younger players who can’t handle the pressure of a heavy offensive load just yet (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffrey Taylor, Bismack Biyombo, Gerald Henderson in the first half of the season), and getting a future first-round pick from Detroit out of the deal from the Gordon-Maggette trade have both assisted in helping to further reconstruct the Bobcats. Also, his team-high .375% from three-point land helped stretch the offense, opening up better passing lanes and added another dimension to the Cats offense.
Edward’s Grade: C+
A dynamic scorer in his earlier days with the Chicago Bulls, Gordon’s shown he’s still capable of lighting up scoreboards. However, his game hasn’t been the same since signing with the Pistons. This trend carried over to his first season in Charlotte. Despite averaging just just 11.2 points on 40.8% shooting, Gordon had a good season scoring the ball. Per 36 minutes, Gordon had his highest points average at 19.6 since his last season in Chicago. He also led the Bobcats in three point field goals and percentage. However, Gordon’s efficiency wasn’t up to standard, as his true scoring % sunk to a career-low 51.5%.
Another career low was Gordon’s minutes. He played just under 21 per game. Gordon struggled getting consistent minutes in the Bobcats crowded backcourt, which became even more evident when Gerald Henderson surged in the second half of the season. Gordon’s best months as a Bobcat came in November and January, when Henderson was out of the lineup or not playing as many minutes. He also missed a few games due to a a reported riff with Mike Dunlap. Gordon just doesn’t have much of a role in Charlotte and his salary prevents him from being a desireable trade target. Gordon’s disagreement with Dunlap prompted trade rumors, but acquiring Kris Humphries from the Brooklyn Nets on a $12 million salary apparently seemed a lot less appealing to the Bobcats front office.
Overall, Gordon had a pedestrian year, though at times you wonder whether he’s truthfully declined in skill or just underutilized as an offensive threat.