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Bye-Bye Ben

There are rumors circulating that Ben Gordon is being heavily
targeted by the Detroit Pistons to the tune of $11 million, which is
a better offer than Gordon received and subsequently turned down from
the Bulls in consecutive summers.

Fine. Enjoy the Motor City, Ben.

We all know that Gordon will single handedly keep you in some games
and occasionally add to your win total when he gets on one of his
signature “oh my God” hot streaks and becomes an absolute assassin
from anywhere on the floor. Those games happened and they will
continue to happen when he’s wearing a different colored tank top.

But those games often fool Bulls fans and more importantly Vinny Del
Negro into believing they need Ben Gordon. We are blinded to his many
flaws when he hits an improbable shot over a 6’11” forward to send
a game into overtime. The reality is that Del Negro and Bulls fans
need to see what NBA life is like without #7. Not only because he’s
likely to accept an offer in another city, but also because a better
basketball life could await us.

For all of his scoring sprees and stone cold clutch shooting, he’s
still a bit of a novelty. He’s only a scorer. And unless he becomes
5 inches taller, that’s all he’s ever going to be. He’s an
undersized shooting guard without the ball-handling skills to spend
any time at the point, and his inability to defend bigger 2 guards is
a major liability. And I don’t think Gordon’s defensive
deficiencies are due to lack of effort. He seems to be a hard worker
and a player who badly wants to win. He may just not have what it
takes to become a good defensive player. You love his ability to
score, but you know you’re going to pay for it on the other end of
the floor.

If the Bulls play this the right way, they can actually move closer
to building a championship team in the wake of losing Gordon.

There are a few major pieces the Bulls need to add before they vault
themselves into the conversation of contenders. Not the least of
which is an athletic 2 guard who plays solid perimeter defense.
Whether that answer lies in the form of the 16th pick in the upcoming
draft, free agency, or via trade remains to be seen.

Life after Ben could also benefit Rookie of the Year and franchise
building block Derrick Rose. The Bulls offense is at its best when
the ball is in Rose’s hands and he has the opportunity to get into
the lane. How many times last year was Rose marginalized when he and
Gordon were on the floor at the same time? Rose’s unselfishness too
often led to Gordon’s “my turn” possessions and ended in a
forced shot or a turnover.

If the Pistons want to pay Gordon $11 million, let them. That helps
the Bulls stay financially flexible as they put themselves in
position to make a run at another star who works well with Rose.

Keep your eye on the prize, Bulls fans. This is about raising the 7th
banner in the United Center and bidding adieu to Ben Gordon could
bring you closer to that reality.

drew brown



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