Golden State Warriors Can Afford Taking Risk on Ben Gordon


With their core already set in stone for at least another couple years and the majority of their championship-winning team coming back for a second season, the Golden State Warriors are currently in the process of looking for a player to fill their last open roster spot.

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They spent the 2015 offseason making a number of roster moves, a list that includes them drafting Kevon Looney, trading away David Lee, re-signing Draymond Green, and acquiring training camp signees Ian Clark, Jarrell Eddie, Tony Mitchell, Juwan Staten, and Chris Babb.

However, the one name among the team’s training camp invitees that stands out the most is that of former Sixth Man of the Year, Ben Gordon.

Gordon, 32, was drafted 3rd overall by the Chicago Bulls back in 2004. He spent his best years with Chicago, later signing a five-year deal worth $55 million with the Detroit Pistons as an unrestricted free agent. Detroit would go on to trade Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) for former Warriors player, Corey Maggette. The Bobcats would waive Gordon roughly two years later after he was unable to find a place in their rotation.

Gordon would then sign a two-year deal worth $9 million with the Orlando Magic, eventually being waived to free up cap space after playing just one season for the team. He’s now signed on with the Warriors on a training camp deal.

Now it’s no secret that the Warriors are in the market for a perimeter shooter.

While their starting lineup may have included 40 percent three-point shooters in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, their second unit’s best long-range bomber was Leandro Barbosa, who averaged 38.4 percent from three but on a mere 1.7 attempts per game.

Although his 36.1 percent from behind the arc last season may be lower than Barbosa’s, Gordon is still a career 40.1 percent three-point shooter. He may not be the same guy the Bulls drafted out of UConn fresh off a NCAA title, but his shooting stroke — 42.6 percent in catch-and-shoot situations from three — still commands a level of respect from defenses.

In addition, he’s been doing everything he can to put himself in the right position to earn a guaranteed spot with the Warriors.

He’s been working out with Andre Iguodala, he’s been using a vegetarian diet to keep himself slim, and he’s put himself in the right mindset in terms of embracing a small role on a winning team that emphasizes outside shooting.

He’s had some issues with his health before (which surprisingly makes him a perfect fit on this Warriors squad), but if he can remain relatively healthy in his limited minutes and provide the Warriors with some outside shooting relief off the bench, this could turn out to be a match made in heaven.

And with the team retaining what is basically the same roster as last season after winning the title, the Warriors have the leeway to take a chance on a veteran who was, at one point in his career, one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA.

This is also a perfect situation for a player like Gordon that needs to revitalize his career: the team is incredibly stacked as it is, the system is one in which Gordon can greatly excel, and the rest of the roster shores up all of his noted weaknesses.

Most importantly, the Warriors won’t be asking Gordon to be anything more than what he has been his entire career — a viable threat from outside. Basically speaking: picking up Gordon for training camp is the very definition of a low-risk, high-reward move, and those are the kinds of moves in the NBA that yo just can’t pass up as a general manager.

Of course, Gordon still has to compete with the other shooters Golden State added for the preseason — Eddie, Clark, Babb — but age and experience could be exactly what gives Gordon the edge in the end. And who knows? We may very well find ourselves at some point during the season debating whether Gordon deserves more minutes at backup shooting guard than Barbosa.

Definitely looking forward to all of that by the time the playoffs come around.

Next: Golden State Warriors: Quotes from Media Day

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