The Nets like taking the three --they're seventh in the NBA in attempts and 10th in makes, but only 21st in three point percentage at 34.7 percent. As John Hollinger wrote of Ben Gordon for ESPN Insider before the season, "let's not forget he's still one of the best shooters on the planet."
Gordon has his faults, particularly on defense. Synergy, reported Hollinger, rated him among the worst defenders in basketball. "The Pistons gave up 3.6 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court," wrote Hollinger. "In particular, post-up guards give him problems; at 6-foot-3 with little lift, he has no chance of contesting the shot."
Yes, he is also turnover prone when handling the ball and tunnel vision when he gets the ball --- although that is what he would be hired to do for the Nets.
Despite projections by Hollinger and others that he would decline this season, the 29-year-old has bounced back with the Bobcats. His PER of 16.9 is the highest it's been in four years,since he left Chicago. Similarly, his per 36 minute scoring number, 21.6, is his highest since he left Chicago. (In comparison, Joe Johnson's is at 15.9.) He's averaging only 13.6 ppg but playing only 22 minutes.
Historically, he is among the most consistent shooters in the NBA. His true shooting percentage, a combination of all his shooting statistics, has never been lower than 52.6 percent, never higher than 57.2. This year's number is 53.9, which ranks as his fourth highest in eight years. His three point rate of 41.5 percent this season is also his fourth best, as is his overall rate of 43.8 percent. In fact, except for 32.1 percent his first year in Detroit back in 2009-10, his three point shooting has been between 40.5 percent and 43.5 percent over the course of eight years. His overall shooting is even more consistent, with a best of 45.6 percent in 2008-09 and 41.1 in his rookie year. From the corners, he hits half his shots. You want to open up the middle for Brook Lopez?
He's also durable. Over the course of eight and a half years, he's missed a total of 51 games, an average of six per season. Four times, he's played all 82 games, the most recent two years ago. He hasn't suffered any devastating injuries. And he can still explode. He's had games of 34, 29, 27 and 26 this season, all off the bench. He shot 8-of-12 from three in a game vs. the Blazers on January 4, two games after going 7-of-10 against the Hawks. And last March, he did this. (Yes, Anthony Morrow had a game of 42 last season, but Morrow is nowhere near as consistent or as durable.)
No, he is not a great passer or good rebounder for his size. Switching from Keith Bogans to Gordon would make opposing swing men salivate. And he never was worth the $58 million plus incentives over five that Joe Dumars gave him. But he can shoot. Moreover, he would reduce the wear and tear on Johnson, who is twelveth in minutes this season. In the top 25, there's only one player older ... Kobe Bryant.
Why would the Bobcats want to do it ... in fact, Howard Beck reports, propose it. Charlotte has an abundance of other scoring guards in Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Gerald Henderson and Reggie Williams. Sometimes, GM's who want to see younger players get minutes will remove options from their coach's scorecard. What they don't have is a tough rebounder at the four. They liked Kris Humphries in the off-season and it appears they still like him.
Would he want to come to Brooklyn? He hasn't said but he grew up in Mt. Vernon, N.Y. and played his college ball at UConn, winning the national championship there in 2004. He has a side career in modeling. He hasn't played in a single playoff game since 2009.
The Nets, according to published (and tweeted) reports, are looking at Paul Millsap (which would no doubt require a third team), Andre Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu (can you say salary dump?) and who knows who else. No one expects them to make a deal soon, and who knows, they may want to expand the deal with Charlotte before signing off on the main players. Still, the way the story broke via Chris Broussard and the ease with which the Nets and Bobcats confirmed the talks would seem to indicate this one is for real.