In an article published on Thursday from Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Bobcats new head coach Steve Clifford talked about how he plans to handle the team’s roster and roles heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season. One of the things that Clifford emphasized was that guys who were somewhat forgotten last season in Charlotte will start off with a clean slate heading into training camp.
One player in particular that was brought up in terms of starting with a clean slate was shooting guard Ben Gordon. Gordon spent his first season with the Bobcats last year after coming over as part of a trade that sent Corey Maggette to the Detroit Pistons. Gordon is widely considered one of the most overpaid players in the league when it comes to comparing his salary to his production.
While talking about Gordon, Clifford unintentionally burned the 30-year-old guard with a pretty comical statement. When asked about what he needed to do with Gordon, Clifford said that he wanted to help him “turn back the clock five years.”
In fairness, Gordon was quite productive five years ago while playing with the Chicago Bulls. In 82 games, Gordon averaged 20.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three. However, he signed his monster of a contract the next summer and hasn’t been the same since then.
Things were close to an all-time low for Gordon last season as he came off of the bench for Charlotte. In 20.8 minutes per game, he averaged only 11.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting a career-low 40.8 percent from the field and a decent 38.7 percent from three, though his three-point percentage is well below his career mark of 40.4 percent.
Here’s the thing about Gordon as he heads into his first year under Clifford: Clifford can say that he wants to help him turn back the clock all he wants, but I don’t see it happening. Gordon simply isn’t the same player that he used to be. He’s been reduced to a three-point specialist that isn’t as effective shooting outside as you would like a three-point specialist to be. If I had to guess, I’d say that Clifford will realize that Gordon’s clock isn’t getting turned back relatively soon, which doesn’t bode well for Gordon’s playing time this season.
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