Tag:Ben Gordon
Posted on: December 17, 2011 2:08 pm

Pistons re-sign Rodney Stuckey

By Matt Moore

The Pistons don't seem to quite know where to go with themselves. They continue to draft young quality players like Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, and Brandon Knight, who showed a much-improved skill-set on Friday night in a preseason tilt against the Cavaliers. And at the same time they keep giving long-term contracts to veteran players. They re-signed Tayshaun Prince to 4-years, $27 million. And on Saturday, they re-signed Rodney Stuckey to a three-year, $25 million deal via Yahoo Sports

Stuckey posted an 18 PER last season, posting career numbers in multiple categories. He's only 25 and is entering his prime. Then again, he was also part of the tumultous locker room for Detroit last year, siding with Rip Hamilton and the veterans he's played alongside for the duration of his career against John Kuester, according to reports. Kuester was clearly a problem, but Stuckey was part of the drama last year. 

Outside of last season, however, there haven't been reports of trouble with Stuckey being coachable. The bigger concern is the logjam it creates in the backcourt for the Pistons. Brandon Knight looked very much like an actual point guard against the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving. Will Bynum has been a consistent change-of-pace guard. And Ben Gordon has too much money invested to bury. So where does Stuckey fit in? He can play starting two-guard, but is a ball-handler. 

It's just odd that with a solid core of young players, the Pistons seem intent on simultaneously going forward with veteran talent and building through the draft. The lack of direction in Detroit continues to perplex, but with Lawrence Frank, maybe the results will change.  
Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:07 pm

Ben Gordon: Lockout could last 'a year or two'

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA took the plunge earlier this week, cancelling the first two weeks of the 2011-2012 NBA season. It's the first time in more than a decade that regular season games will be cancelled but, still, there's some consolation in the fact that it's only two weeks.

Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, who has personally attended labor negotiation sessions, sees two weeks as just a tip of the iceberg. Indeed, the Detroit Free Press reports that Gordon is measuring the length of a potential work stoppage in years, not weeks.
"I think there will be more games missed," Gordon said when reached by phone as he was driving to Chicago. "I expect it might be a year or two. I realized that when I was listening to both sides during the negotiations. I think there will be a lot of games missed and more money is going to go down the drain.

"It just seemed scripted, and they were going through the motions," said Gordon, calling it a valuable learning experience. "Sitting there in front of them you could tell they weren't focused on getting a deal. I still don't know the purpose of those meetings."
Earlier Wednesday, we noted that New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire discussing possible contingency plans "if [the lockout] goes one or two years." 

So what's up with the timing and the extended timelines? There are a few factors at play here.

First, there's a psychological weight to the official cancellation announcement. While both players and media members had months to think about the possibility of cancelled games, there were hopes and reports that NBA commissioner David Stern might decide to simply postpone the first two weeks of the season rather than outright cancel them. There was an idea that, if enough progress could be made, order could be restored in a fairly short time frame. Those thoughts ended when the cancellation -- delivered with an apology but no waffling -- came down on schedule. Once games are cancelled, the mind opens up fully to all of the nightmare scenarios that had been disregarded previously. Suddenly, everything is on the table.

But this talk about a lost season isn't just a matter of mind games. It's also a reflection of the owners' refusal to budge meaningfully from their hard-line position.  The players know now, once and for all, that the owners were not, in fact, bluffing in their desire to re-make the financial system that governs the NBA. Ownership's proposals, once ignored or cast aside as laughable or out in left field, now have to be taken that much more seriously. Without any obvious back-up plans, the players are coming to public terms with the possiblity of a seriously long labor battle. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Finally, there's an element of expressed solidarity at play here too. Merely by discussing the possibility of multiple lost seasons, the players signify that they are ready for a long fight, that the first missed paycheck in November won't radically alter their bargaining position. That may be true for Stoudemire ($82 million in career earnings) and Gordon ($42 million in career earnings), but it's not yet clear whether a majority of the players union, most of whom do not have access to that type of savings and earning power, will feel the same way.
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:39 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Central Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Central Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.


Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division and the Atlantic Division. Let's continue this series with the Central Division.  


The Bulls won the Central by a preposterous margin in 2010-2011, stacking up a league-high 62 wins and burying their division mates by a ridiculous 25 games, by far the biggest margin of any division winner. Nothing has happened yet this offseason which suggests next year's results will be any different. Even if the Milwaukee Bucks return to full health or the Indiana Pacers make a key free agent addition or the Detroit Pistons finally emerge from their slog or the Cleveland Cavaliers successfully start the Kyrie Irving era, the only thing stopping the Bulls from running away from the competition again is an injury to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are, by far, the most talented and deepest team in the division. They have the reigning MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. They're poised to be championship title contenders for the next five years.

With so much going for them, the Bulls clearly have the most to lose in a lockout. If a season is lost, that's a title chase that evaporates. Perhaps most important, the Bulls would lose that visceral desire for redemption that comes with the ugly end to their season. It was a disappointing, frustrating loss to their new archrivals, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference Finals. The pain of that loss subsides with time. It's ability to serve as unifying inspiration will fade too. The Bulls want revenge and they want rings. The pieces are in place. Besides aging teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, who face the possibility of their championship window closing, the Bulls don't want to sit around and wait. They created some amazing chemistry last season, built strong trust bonds. Losing a season risks all of that.


The upstart Pacers are up to something: they finally committed to Frank Vogel as their coach, they brought on former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard to serve as Director of Player Personnel, they made a solid draft day trade to acquire point guard George Hill and they sit on a mound of cap space ready to make a splash in free agency. The Pacers risk two things if a season is lost. First, a critical development year to see how their young pieces are able to gel together. Second, A feeling of certainty in terms of team expectations.

Indiana has assembled some nice, young talent: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Hill are all 25 or younger. Depending on how they use their cap space and whether they decide to move Danny Granger, that has all the makings of a promising core that could reliably make playoff runs for the foreseeable future. But the group needs time to spend together, reps to get things right and an evaluation period to see whether all four belong long-term. They look great on paper but more data -- playing together -- is needed. A lost season risks that and potentially stalls the development of those younger guys.

The real risk is free agency. Indiana has just $36 million committed in salary next season, meaning they have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. They also have an expiring contract in James Posey to move and potentially could move Granter if they were looking to make a major splash. Their combination of flexibility and talent on-hand is near the tops in the league when it comes to rebuilding teams. A delayed season pushes that promise back and while teams with space are definitely sitting in a better position than teams without space, it's unclear what additional rules might be in place that inhibit free agent movement. If you're the Pacers you'd prefer to be able to chase a guy like David West now without any messy collective bargaining negotiations getting in the way. Put simply, the Pacers are a team on the rise, but a lot has to go right for young teams to reach their potential. Even minor things can throw a team off course. The less variables, the better. Unfortunately, the CBA is a major, major variable.


lockoutThis team is just confusing. The Stephen Jackson trade made a bit of sense, given that the Bucks needed a serviceable alternative to Brandon Jennings at point guard and got one in Beno Udrih, but this group isn't going anywhere meaningful, not even if Jennings and center Andrew Bogut are fully healthy. 

About the only thing lost in a lockout for the Bucks is another year for Jennings to bloom. His sophomore years was sidetracked by injuries and poor outside shooting, and he questioned his teammates' desire to win at the end of the regular season. Other than Jennings, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute could use more developmental minutes but the rest of the roster is essentially veterans who have reached their potential. 

From a cynical standpoint, Bucks ownership could be cheering a lost season because it would mean cash savings on ugly deals for Jackson and big man Drew Gooden. Is it worth saving the combined $15 million that will go to Jackson and Gooden in 2011-2012 to lose a year of floor leadership training for Jennings? 


The Pistons are another confounding mess, but at least it feels like they've turned a corner thanks to the sale of the team, the departure of reviled coach John Kuester and the drafting of point guard Brandon Knight and wing Kyle Singler. Last year was one, long, ugly grind. 2011-2012 figures to be a step in the right direction.

Knight slipped out of the top five of the 2011 NBA Draft because of questions about his position. Is he a pure point guard? Can he run an NBA offense? Will he be able to execute something besides the pick-and-roll game? His future is incredibly bright but as a one-and-done player he absolutely needs as much playing time as possible to get a feel for the NBA style and to get comfortable with the ball in his hands and a team of professionals that look to him first. There's no other way to learn the point guard position than by on-the-job training, and recent success stories like Rose and Russell Westbrook only reinforce that idea. A year away from the game at this stage would be a critical loss for Knight and the Pistons, and that's a major risk.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for big man Greg Monroe, who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season and appears to be a potential core piece going forward. 2011-2012 is all about letting Knight and Monroe build up a chemistry together 

A lost season would certainly be welcomed by ownership here too because Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva all failed to live up to their big-dollar contract figures last season. Hamilton and Villanueva, in particular, seem like lost causes. Weighing the savings from these deals versus the lost development of Knight, the Pistons should probably be pretty close to indifferent when it comes to losing a season. They need work, they know they need work and the rebuild can only come as these big contracts get closer to their conclusion and become more tradeable. Still, it would seem to be better to continue that journey with Knight getting more familiar and comfortable day-by-day, month-by-month than it would having him workout solo in a gym somewhere. If you've committed to a rebuild, start it immediately.

Last but not least, we have the Cavaliers, the NBA's second-worst team from last season, who endured an embarrasing 26 game losing streak to set an NBA record for consecutive futility. There's significant light at the end of the tunnel for the Cavaliers, as they have an owner committed to spending money to win, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall pick, Kyrie Irving, and Tristan Thompson, who was taken No. 4 overall. 

Cleveland is in much the same position as the Pistons: the biggest risk from losing a season is the lost reps that Irving won't get running the show. There are always some bumps and bruises for a young point guard transitioning from college to the NBA, and the potential for struggles is even more pronounced in Irving's case because he missed much of last season, his freshman year at Duke University, with a foot injury. Time away from the game is not good. The shorter, the better. Irving was clearly the most NBA-ready point guard in this year's draft crop and the Cavaliers would be smart to turn the keys over to him from Day 1, even with veterans Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions on the roster as well. 

That raises a secondary risk of the lockout season for the Cavaliers: losing positional clarity. Cleveland clearly needs to move one, if not two, of their point guards to clear the deck for Irving and surround him with some solid complementary pieces. A lost season just delays that process. Saving the money from Davis' contract is tempting, but it's a non-factor for owner Dan Gilbert who would just as soon pay that tax to watch his young team start the rebuild. Along those same lines, an entire season lost could mean the Cavaliers aren't able to move Antawn Jamison's $15 million expiring contract, a nice trade asset that could potentially bring a rotation player in return.

Posted on: November 17, 2010 9:43 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:51 pm

Video: Will Bynum missed dunk lands out of bounds

Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum missed a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers so badly the ball landed out of bounds. Posted by Ben Golliver It's been a disastrous start to the 2010-2011 NBA season for the Detroit Pistons, who have dealt with dysfunctional team dynamics, weird coaching decisions, trade rumors and poor play. But the Pistons hadn't seen anything quite as disheartening as this play by guard Will Bynum during the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.  Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva saved the ball from going out of bounds near Detroit's baseline, and threw a quick outlet pass ahead to center Greg Monroe. Monroe in turn gave the ball up to a streaking Will Bynum, who had a clear path to the basket. Bynum went in for the big time flush, only to have the rim intervene.   Take a look at the video. The missed dunk caromed so far that the ball appeared to land out of bounds on the fly, without bouncing in the court of play. That's not easy, folks.  In Bynum's defense, he's listed at just 6'0" and may have missed the dunk on purpose so as to hand out a souvenir to a lucky Pistons fan seated courtside. In a sign of how the Pistons' season has been going, Bynum walked off the court with his head down and the camera panned to Pistons Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon, who didn't appear to be paying attention to the action on the court, instead engaging in a deep discussion on the bench. Tough year to be a Pistons fan.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 5:12 pm

Preseason Primers: Detroit Pistons

Posted by Matt Moore

Things could have gone worse for the Pistons last year. It would have taken an outbreak of the bubonic plague or an appearance from classic Ron Artest, but things could have gone worse. They had horrific injury issues, and when healthy, their big free agents struck far below their goals. The team is still seemingly in a transition period, as everyone waits for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, or both to get moved, ending the 2004 starters once and for all. But in the meantime, John Kuester's got to get this team back on track. They have way too high a payroll in this economy to have performed as they did. If things don't turn around quickly, the situation could get hot all over in Detroit. With that, we turn to our Preseason Primer on the Pistons. 

Training camp site:  Detroit, MI

Training camp starts:  Sept. 27 

Key additions:  Tracy McGrady (free agency)

Key subtractions:  Kwame Brown (free agency), Greg Monroe (draft)

Likely starting lineup:   Rodney Stuckey (PG), Rip Hamilton (SG), Tayshaun Prince (SF), Charlie Villanueva (PF), Ben Wallace (C)

Player to watch:
 Ben Gordon. Gordon was the premier free agent for the Pistons as they tried to reconfigure their team. Instead, he was pretty bad last year, when injuries didn't keep him off the floor. His shot wasn't there. And Ben Gordon without a shot is like a bike without wheels. It's shiny, but it also doesn't actually do anything. He's not a tremendous defender, he's bad when it comes to creating opportunities for his teammates, and you're banking on him being a volume shooter. So if he's shooting poorly (his eFG%-factoring field goal percentage with threes factored- plummeted to 47% from 52% the prior year), he's not giving you much. He's pledged to be more aggressive this season, and if he bounces back, the Pistons will too... a little bit. Gordon needs to hit camp running, get the starting job, and become the premier talent the Pistons are paying him to be.

Chemistry quiz:
 It's either an egg waiting to be hatched, or a time bomb set to go off. Rip Hamilton hasn't been happy the last few years, and he and Tayshaun Prince, the last remaining members of the '04 championship team, have been on the trade block for years now. That situation could sour quickly if Dumars gets involved in late-stage discussions (to the point where one or both of the two are notified to start packing) and it falls apart. From there? There's no real sense of how these guys will do together, because the main cogs haven't been together that long. Stuckey's been around for years, but Will Bynum is still getting comfortable along with Gordon and Villanueva. Oh, Villanueva. That's a whole other story.

Injury watch:
 The entire team. Every single one of them. Only four players played more than 70 games last season. That team needs healing potion more than your level 78 mage.

Camp battles:
 The easy out here is shooting guard as Ben Gordon tries for 400th time in his career to win a starting spot while Rip Hamilton keeps his death grip. But given the odds that both of them will be healthy for the duration of camp, this one's hard to classify as a battle, especially with how willing Gordon is to accept a sixth man award role. The real battle is likely to be at power forward, where Jason Maxiell is no longer the kiddo and could make a legitimate push for the starting power forward slot if Charlie Villanueva doesn't show the requisite toughness for Kuester. And while Greg Monroe probably won't win it, his raw ability may put him into a fight with 84-year-old veteran Ben Wallace. All of this is before the Pistons' biggest dilemma. Dynamic Will Bynum who can be inefficient and force things at times, or Rodney Stuckey, who can simply vanish now and then. Pretty much Prince is the only one locked in.

Biggest strength:
 They can't be as bad as last year? The team has scorers, if they're healthy. If they can find a system that works to their strengths, they can put points up on the board. Villanueva is versatile and athletic, Gordon can detonate at any time, Monroe is going to be a great pick, and the team can attack the rim relentlessly... again, when healthy.

Glaring weakness:
 Defense. Clap clap. Defense. The Pistons were the fifth worst team in defensive efficiency last year. Some of that is injury related, but a large part of it is that Dumars gambled on heavy offense free agents subscribing to the system, and that just didn't happen. Ben Wallace was downright inspiring last year, but he's just got too many miles on him. This team is inconsistent, and seems to have problems with differing agendas. Camp needs to gel them on the defensive end.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 2:14 pm

Rodney Stuckey: "On paper, we are the best team"

Posted by Royce Young

Ah, mid-September. It's the wonderful time where not only are fanbases hopelessly optimistic, but even the players get a little sense of unbridled bias that leads to a lapse in reality.

Take Michael Beasley for example, who mentioned that the Wolves are the team to beat last week. Or Rodney Stuckey, who told Dime Magazine in an interview that "On paper, we are the best team in the league."

As Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk wisely put it,
"What paper? Rolling?"

Now again, this isn't something new. Brash players tend to talk... brashly in September. And why not? You're already in first place, your front office (supposedly, theoretically) made you better and if you just play like you're supposed to, everything will be alright.

But it doesn't make it any less fun to point out these comments from players. The Pistons should be better. Last year was tough but "on paper," they improved. Who knows, in the East, anybody could realistically be a low-seed playoff team. Especially on paper.

Still, do names like Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, Tracy McGrady and Ben Wallace really look that good on paper? As good as Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and whoever else is on that one team? Or even as good as Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo? Or as good as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum? I think I've made my point here.

It's a curious thing as to why players make bold statements like these. Is it to try and fire up fanbases? Is it to try and develop and us versus the world mentality when everyone tells you you're crazy? Is it just a confidence thing? Or could they possibily, actually believe it?

Whatever the answer is on that, the lesson here is, professional athletes don't always speak with the head, but more often with the heart. And really, there's nothing wrong with that.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 8:12 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 10:31 am

Shootaround 7.21.10

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Andrew Bynum's knee surgery has been sheduled for July 28th , after being postponed from July 18th. The surgery is to repair a small tear in the meniscus he played through in the playoffs. Complications are unlikely, but Bynum does have a significant injury of not snapping back from surgery.
  • SB Nation Arizona's Seth Pollack lays out the Suns' plan for the future . The hiring of Lon Babby and all of their short-term, mid-size contracts they've added are all part of a strategy to set themselves up for "the big trade" whenever that may be and whoever that may be for. It's a smart play if you have the money and patience for it. Owner Robert Sarver does not have the patience for the draft-heavy Blazers/Thunder approach and doesn't like rebuilding. It does fall in line with a thought process I tend to agree with, which is that there are always good players available if you're aggressive enough to get them. We've seen Al Jefferson moved in the last month. You just have to seize the opportunity. But with Steve Nash continuing into his mid-30s, time may be short for the window of opportunity before a true rebuilding era is needed.
  • It would not surprise me at all to see Alonzo Gee as the Spurs' starting small forward in a few years. Gee has an NBA frame, explosion, touch, range, and athleticism. The gaps in his game are hard to identify, even if he's incapable of taking over a game.
  • Ben Gordon was in Vegas scouting as parting of the Players Association's leadership and development program, preparing himself or a career in basketball when his playing time is done. No word on if he put negative comments around every player that did not shoot 20 times a game regardless of the offense's context.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com