John Hollinger recently released his mid-season All-Disappointment team, and Pistons shooting guard Ben Gordon finds himself 10th on the list.
Ben Gordon, Detroit — Last year was easy to blame on a bad ankle that Gordon gamely fought through for much of the season. This season? I’m at a loss. Gordon can still stroke the 3 (39.5 percent from the distance) but doesn’t do anything else well enough to justify his $10.8 million salary unless he’s setting the nets ablaze. His rather tepid production thus far — 17.3 points per 40 minutes at a league-average TS% — won’t cut the mustard, and it’s even more puzzling because the Pistons’ lack of scoring options should allow him to put up big numbers. It’s hard to believe Detroit talked itself out of Carlos Boozer and plunked down its cash on Gordon and Charlie V instead, and it largely explains why the once-mighty Pistons are headed back to the lottery.
Now, I actually don’t disagree with anything Hollinger says here. I, too, am puzzled by Gordon’s inability to embrace a larger scoring role in Detroit, and to this day I struggle to believe that Dumars passed on potential targets like David Lee, Paul Milsap, and Carlos Boozer in favor of the Gordon / Villanueva combo.
So if I agree with Hollinger, why am I confused? I’m confused because during the 08-09 season, Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating rated all 3 players similarly. In fact, according to PER, Villanueva was the best player of the three!
PER’s problems are numerous and well-documented, so I can’t say I’m surprised to see that PER gets these players so completely wrong for 08-09, and it should be noted that Boozer has posted higher PER’s in seasons prior to this.
Still, I am surprised to see Hollinger criticizing Dumars openly for passing on the obviously superior Boozer when his own player evaluation metric would have suggested that Dumars was actually signing two quality players in Gordon and Villanueva – who together should be significantly more effective than Boozer by himself.
Which leads me to ask the obvious question, if Hollinger doesn’t trust his own metric, the should anyone else?