Earlier this month, D-Leaguer Ben Gordon revealed his intent to get back into the NBA and restart his career.
It’s not very often that you see NBA veterans sticking themselves in the D-League pool after turning down offers to play overseas, but 33-year-old Ben Gordon did just that. According to Lee Altman, Gordon stayed in the United States to avoid leaving his son and his family, and the Texas Legends scooped him up on a whim.
Gordon’s spent seven games with the Legends thus far and is averaging 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in 30 minutes of action.
The 6-3 combo guard was taken third overall back in 2004, behind Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard. His first five seasons were spent with the Chicago Bulls, and Gordon was a deadeye shooter from the minute he stepped on the court. Chicago finished with a 47-35 record that year after starting 1-10, and Gordon’s 15.1 points a night put him third on the team to Kirk Hinrich (15.7) and Eddy Curry (16.1).
On the heels of that strong campaign, Gordon became the first rookie ever to bring home to Sixth Man of the Year award, and it was evident that he’d be able to carve out a lengthy career if he kept that right arm hot.
Over the course of those five years he spent in the Windy City, only Jason Richardson, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen made more threes than he did, but Gordon outshot all of them with a 41.5 percent clip. That mark was the fourth-most accurate among players who made at least 500 threes, according to Basketball-Reference.com. He hit the 20-plus points per game plateau twice with his career-high 21.4 coming in 2006-07, and all of it was done in relatively little time.
Gordon averaged 31.4 minutes played over those seasons because the Bulls had no issues digging deep into their bench and that attributed to his durability. Three times he suited up for all 82 contests, and he missed just two games as a sophomore and 10 over the course of 2007-08.
Following that torrid stretch, Gordon signed a five-year deal with the Detroit Pistons before slowly deteriorating.
He fell from 20.7 points a night to 13.8 that first year in Detroit, and he was rendered virtually impotent from three — 41.0 percent dropped to 32.1. That team was less than stellar, and that’s being nice. On top of his lesser play, Gordon struggled with staying healthy for the first time in his career, and he missed 20 of the Pistons’ games despite playing fewer minutes than ever.
The next two years saw him return to usual marksmanship with 41.2 percent clip from downtown, but those would be his last days in the Motor City. Gordon — and a future first-round pick — got traded to the Charlotte Bobcats during the summer of 2012 for Corey Maggette, and that’s where Gordon’s deterioration began to speed up exponentially.
The first year in Charlotte, when he was 29, was rather uneventful. He shot about 39 percent from three for a 21-win team, and that was the final good year he had.
He was then waived by the Orlando Magic in June of 2015 before getting invited to the Golden State Warriors training camp in October of the same year. After just two preseason games, they severed ties.
Would Gordon be able to make a comeback and help an NBA team? Yes, without a doubt. Best-case scenario he signs with a contender and pulls a Ray Allen, and, who knows, maybe LeBron James is trying to pull some strings.
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