After a three game losing skid, it's nice to get a couple of laughers, and the Bulls have delivered their first two real blow outs in consecutive nights. Sure the Pistons were without Prince, and Ben Gordon could only go a few minutes due to an injury suffered a night ago, but a win is a win. When you lose at home to the 1-19 New Jersey Nets and let the Kings come back from 35 down to win, you can't take anything for granted.
There's not much to say about a blowout against a terrible team suffering significant injuries, so let's talk some Ben Gordon. I've been trying to cut the cord with my fan affair with Gordon, he's gone, he's not coming back. I miss him, but I realize he wasn't a star.
There are a few interesting things about this season. First, I wrote awhile back would you rather have Ben Gordon or Luol Deng going forward. I mentioned that I'd take Gordon largely due to the very large health risk I consider Luol Deng to be carrying going forward that I don't see with Gordon.
Ironic, in that Gordon's the one who's missed 11 games this season and been limited in several others. He's having a Luol Deng circa 2007/08 type year where he has a combination of injuries, followed by compensatory injuries, followed by sub-par play due to playing so many minutes while not fully healthy.
This is what you'd have expected from Luol Deng, who's actually 11th in the NBA in total minutes played and 13th in minutes per game (and in a multi-player tie for #1 in minutes per 36 minutes), and despite the recent thumb injury has played very well on the season.
I miss Ben Gordon, and I don't think the record of the Pistons is representative of Ben Gordon's ability. It's representative of him being the best player on their team, a team filled with injuries, and his own injuries. Still, I've said it before, and when we play the Pistons, it's a good chance to say it again, the Bulls only mistake was not agreeing to take Gordon on the 6/54 deal he agreed to two summers ago before settling on the QO.
I wouldn't take Gordon back at the near 12 million per season he's making now. He's a good player despite his detractors declaring him a one trick pony [if his only trick is shooting then why don't Kyle Korver and Jason Kapono score 20 a game]. His strengths would have helped this team considerably. His ability to rise up and play well against the best in the tightest pressure situations is something every team needs. His contract, if signed two summers ago, would have been a steal and Kirk Hinrich could have been let go instead.
It brings up the question Ben Gordon for 6/54 or Kirk Hinrich for 4/38? That's the decision we were facing that summer. Looks silly in retrospect doesn't it? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe we couldn't have traded Kirk, but we traded Noc, and I thought his contract was the worse of the two though.
Still we are where we are, and much like letting go of Gordon, I need to let go of the mistake not to keep Gordon two summers ago. I've generally been supportive of Bulls management, but that's the one decision that keeps eating at me. How do you evaluate talent and come to the conclusion that Gordon isn't worth 9 million a season? Perhaps Curry, Crawford, and Chandler supporters said the same thing when they were traded, but I just want to scream out "yeah, but they were wrong! this is different!".
So far it hasn't been different though. At least if we judge management on whether to keep him at 12 million a year. So far Gordon hasn't taken the Pistons anywhere. He's played singularly terrible in Pistons losses and great in their wins. He has been a difference maker, but he hasn't been consistent. Look at his win loss splits for pete's sake. Ben Gordon hasn't been the Ben Gordon we knew so far, and I can no longer romanticize how much better this team would be if it had last year's Ben Gordon on it while ignoring what this year's Ben Gordon is doing.
Good luck Ben, I'll still always have a soft spot in my heart for you for all the good memories, but it's time to move on, long past time.