Bulls a better team without Ben

Gordon captivated Bulls fans with his scoring and frustrated them with his awful defense.

Gordon captivated Bulls fans with his scoring and frustrated them with his defense.

Ben Gordon finally got the long-term contract he was looking for. As expected, it didn’t come from the Bulls.

Gordon is slated to sign a five-year, $55 million deal with Detroit. His career scoring average of 18.5 ppg hardly does justice to his offensive ability.

B.G. came into the NBA expected to be primarily a jump-shooter, and has shot over 40 percent from downtown in each of his five seasons. But he is more than just a spot-up shooter. At around 6’2″, he can get to the lane and score against bigger defenders. His arsenal of shots includes step-back jumpers, sky hooks, tear-drops, and bank shots from all over the court.

But Gordon’s offense doesn’t always compensate for his shortcomings.

Defense has been a problem throughout Gordon’s career. His height is partly responsible for his struggles on the defensive end, but a consistent lack of effort and awareness makes him a huge liability.

The 2009 playoffs proved to be a microcosm of Ben Gordon’s strengths and weaknesses.

He single-handedly kept the Bulls close to the Celtics, fearlessly launching shots from all over the court while being double-teamed and guarded by much bigger players. At the same time, he allowed 34 year-old Ray Allen to go nuts for much of the series. Gordon fell behind Allen on picks and watched him stroke three after three.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the Gordon’s play in the series was his ability to take teammate Derrick Rose out of the series for long stretches by dominating the ball.

Gordon and Rose were not good together. Both want the ball and move poorly without it. Gordon’s tendency to dance for 15 seconds before launching a tough shot became increasingly frustrating as his career progressed in Chicago.

New Bulls GM Gar Forman said bringing Gordon back was the “top offseason priority.” In reality, the Bulls wanted to build a bigger team around D-Rose. 6’6″ John Salmons moves into the starting lineup at shooting guard. Salmons is a tough defender and a decent spot-up shooter. 6’9″ Luol Deng will split time with 6’8″ rookie James Johnson at small forward.

The Bulls go from one of the smallest teams in the NBA to a big, physical squad. For the first time in years, opponents won’t be able to ravage the Bulls backcourt in the post.

As a Bulls fan, I will miss Ben’s exciting scoring bursts and fearless mentality. I won’t miss watching him get worked over on defense yelling “pass it, pass it, pass it!” at my television.

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One response to “Bulls a better team without Ben

  1. Pingback: Notes on the NBA offseason « Brian Knows Sports

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