Oklahoma City was one of the worst teams in the league – let me check that – the worst team in the league statistically at the shooting guard position this year. Starting Damien Wilkins there 14 times can do that to you. It’s a position Sam Presti is definitely looking to improve this offseason whether it be through the draft or the free agent market. And it seems like a lot of people are on the Ben Gordon bandwagon. For instance, Bill Simmons said in a recent column that the Thunder could “desperately use someone like him.”
Ben Gordon is a dynamic player. Heck, he’s probably bumped that offseason contract up a couple bills based on his outstanding play in the playoffs. He has been fantastic against the Celtics. A true offensive joy to watch. At 6-3, nobody that size gets a shot off in traffic like he does. He’s got a lightning quick release and seemingly can pull up from anywhere. He knocks down threes, has a terrific mid-range game, can get to the rim and gets to the line. He’s the total offensive package.
But he doesn’t fit the Thunder.
The reason? It’s simple: Gordon is a scorer. That’s what he does, that’s what he’s always going to do. Simmons put it extremely well:
He finished [Game 2] with the ultimate Ben Gordon box score: 41 points, one rebound, no assists. This is why nobody touched him last summer. He does one thing and that’s it. He is always happiest when he’s the one scoring. When the ship is sinking, he’s like Billy Zane in “Titanic” — one of the first guys to jump off. This is what scares GMs, and this is why a team that could desperately use someone like him (say, [Oklahoma City]) might be afraid to spend for him. Especially in this economy.
But I don’t think Oklahoma City could use someone like him. He works with a team like Chicago where the scoring is distributed among a couple of players without one star scorer (unless you consider him to be the star scorer).
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fantastic player. But the Thunder’s already got their stat stuffer scorer – to the tune of 25.3 ppg and rising. And around that, you need complementary scorers. Not guys that are going to be looking for their shot first and taking possessions away from your top gun. Kobe Bryant doesn’t have a guy he’s competing to get shots with. LeBron doesn’t. Dwyane Wade doesn’t. And Kevin Durant shouldn’t. They have guys like Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Mo Williams, Delonte West, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal to balance the scoring. Jeff Green is a perfect complementary player. Russell Westbrook can score, but he (supposedly) is a pass first guy. Thabo Sefolosha obviously isn’t a scoring-minded guard. Nenad Krstic just takes shots when he’s open or set up. This team is Durant’s and it should stay that way. Keep Reading…