NBA Sunday: Gordon Emerges As Bobcats’ Leader
Although it may seem like an eternity by sports standards, Charlotte Bobcats shooting guard Ben Gordon is only a few years removed from being widely considered one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. Gordon averaged 20.3 points per game from 2007-2009 as a member of the Chicago Bulls before signing a lucrative free agency deal with the Detroit Pistons during the summer of 2009.
While Gordon put up respectable numbers in Detroit, the union never seemed to fully mesh, which led to the Pistons shipping Gordon and a first round pick to the Bobcats this past June in exchange for veteran forward Corey Maggette. The Bobcats, coming off a season of record breaking futility, where in desperate need of a veteran leader and go-to scorer while their younger players learn the nuisances of the pro game.
Enter Gordon, who has fully embraced the role of elder statesman during the early going.
“I think so,” Gordon told HOOPSWORLD on how the younger players are leaning on him for leadership. “I think some of the younger guys get caught in certain situations where they’re looking for some advice or some kind of help. That’s something I’ve been able to do a little bit in this preseason. I’m expecting a lot more throughout the season because there’s going to be so many different situations, things that happen to them throughout the year that they’ve probably never experienced that I’ll probably be able to help them with, along with some of the other veterans on the team.”
In a day and age where veterans traded to rebuilding teams immediately seek contract buyouts to join a title contender of their choice, Gordon seems completely at ease in the current stop of his career journey and is intrigued by the Bobcats’ young core of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.
“This is not the first time I was a part of a rebuilding process,” Gordon said. “I was part of one in Chicago and in Detroit. It seems I’m always a part of a rebuilding process. It’s exciting, we got a lot of young guys, with a lot of energy and they’re very excited to be playing the game of basketball and that’s always a pleasure to be around. I’m just excited to be around such young talent and looking forward to changing the culture and the team over the next couple years and adding some more wins to the win column.”
The Bobcats finished last season just 7-59, but Gordon feels it will be important to come to work every day with a positive outlook as the team continues rebuilding.
“I believe every opportunity that you get, you just got to make the best out of it,” Gordon said. “You always got to come with a positive mindset, whether you’re going to a contender or if you go to a team that’s not contending. You just got to push forward and do what you can to help the situation and not be a part of the problem. There’s a lot of opportunity for a lot of guys here and that’s intriguing. The way they finished last year, you can only go up from here. Just come with a positive mindset and try to do something that probably not a lot of people are expecting.”
During the Bobcats’ preseason slate Gordon has been used off the bench by new head coach Mike Dunlap, a role not unfamiliar to the former University of Connecticut product throughout his time in the league.
“It’s just preseason right now,” Gordon said regarding his role with the club. “[But] it’s a role that I’ve had success in, coming off the bench and starting. To me, it really doesn’t matter, just what happens at the end of the game and if you are able to be out there. I look at that as the most important part of the game. But ultimately it’s about what’s best for the team and at that point, in the season, I just try to have a selfless mentality and do what I can to help the team win.”
The Bobcats kick off the regular season at home versus the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 2.
More On The James Harden To Houston Rockets Deal
The Houston Rockets acquired reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in a shocking trade. Naturally, the debate has already started heating up amongst fans on which franchise won or loss this deal.
But evaluating trades of this magnitude take time. Here’s what we know.
From the Rockets’ standpoint, the move provides the franchise with an emerging player they hope can continue developing into a future All-Star. Harden isn’t a superstar yet, but the hope is he can develop into the team’s go-to scorer and excite the club’s fan base, who have been seeking more name recognition.
Houston also added Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook in the deal.
On the other side, Oklahoma City will gain some future cap relief and are bringing in plenty of assets in return. It is being reported that Harden turned down a four-year, $52 million offer from the Thunder. There were known challenges, mostly due to the luxury tax, for the Thunder to even consider re-signing Harden to a lucrative deal.
At the end of the day, the Thunder acquired high scoring guard Kevin Martin to help fill some of the void.
While Martin isn’t shining with the same potential as Harden at the point in his career, the newly acquired guard has a $12.9 million expiring contract, which Oklahoma City could potentially use as an asset at the trade deadline – to bring in more talent.
The Thunder also acquired 2012 lottery pick Jeremy Lamb at shooting guard, two future first-round picks (2013) and a second-round selection (2013) all the while avoiding the punitive tax structure which would have kicked in if the club re-signed Harden.
So on paper, it appears the Rockets gave up a lot of assets for Harden but at the same time if he continues his recent upward trajectory, it could prove to be well worth it for a franchise that has been desperately seeking its next All-Star caliber talent (post Yao Ming).
HOOPSWORLD Season Previews: The 2012-13 NBA season is rapidly approaching and there are plenty of early storylines emerging.
Can the Miami HEAT repeat their championship quest from last season? Is this the final championship run for the aging Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs? Will Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks finally put all of their talent together and join the league’s elite? Can the new-look Los Angeles Lakers, now boasting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash unseat the Oklahoma City Thunder as Western Conference champions? Is this the year the Minnesota Timberwolves reach the playoffs behind All-Star Kevin Love? Likewise, the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are poised to make playoff runs of their own, but can they seal the deal? Are the Dallas Mavericks toast, or will their new group of hungry veterans surprise us all?
The HOOPSWORLD team has these questions and more all covered and you can find season previews for all 30 NBA teams by following this link.