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Season Report Card: Ben Gordon

  PER PER Against (Net)
Ben Gordon 12.74 17.54 (-4.8)

Strengths: He can shoot. That’s about it. But that’s obviously still a valuable NBA skill, so a tip of the cap to The Scottish Terrier (my nickname for him for many years – you know he looks like one). Gordon led the team in 3P% at .387 (career .404), many of which kept the Bobcats in games when their offense was floundering in the half court. He can create his own shot off the dribble and is also a very good foul shooter (.843 this season). The end.

Weaknesses: Get ready. First off, Gordon is terrible at defense. I mean really bad. Some guys simply lack the foot speed and physical ability to be an average defender, but that is not the case here. His problem is instead rooted in lack of effort and adhering to principles of team defense. I could go on but everyone from Zach Lowe to Brett here at QCH has said enough already.

Next. He is not what you would call a connoisseur of fine shot selection. Granted, the 3-point shot is an efficient attempt for a skilled NBA shooter. However, many of his shots both inside and beyond the arc are what you could call “difficult”. At points this season it was as if the Bobcats had traded for a less-tatted J.R. Smith who had hit the preacher curl bar. But I digress. Gordon shot a career-low .408 from the field, which is tough to do when you shoot nearly the same clip from distance.

Lastly (I’ll limit the criticism to three points), Gordon gets loose with the ball way too often. He doesn’t have a bad handle per se, but he gets himself into trouble by forcing situations and attempting to make ill-suited passes in the paint. Part of the problem is that he’s always looking to get his shot, so at times he’ll get into the lane only to realize he’s now double teamed or facing an opponent’s big. He’s never considered passing the ball up to this point so the attempt to do so is hurried and often intercepted by the opposing team.

Reasons for Optimism: Gordon has only one year left on his deal after he (surprise!) picked up his option for the 2013-14 season. Gordon knows he’s an expiring contract so I wouldn’t be surprised if he came into camp ready to play and prove himself to the other 29 teams in the League. A pre trade deadline deal of Gordon to a contender who needs shooting (as was purported this season to the Nets) is rather likely, so get your fill of the Ol’ Terrier through the first 50 odd games of the season. Hopefully Gordon doesn’t cost them (or does cost them? Andrew Wiggins?) too many games before his departure.

Reasons for Pessimism: He could reside on the Bobcats roster for another 82 games. It’s not so much a risk to the on-court play of the team as it is to the locker room and culture of the organization. Gordon isn’t happy in Charlotte now and he certainly won’t be next year. Another long season of non-contending basketball could wear on him and in turn could lead to more discontent. However, I’m a optimistic guy so let’s go with the narrative above. Gordon comes to camp ready to prove himself, plays better, and gets traded before the deadline next season. Sounds wonderful.