October 1, 2009

More on Ben Gordon

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 6:50 am

Thanks for all the interest on my Ben Gordon comments. Hopefully this post will clarify things even more.

Here are Ben Gordon’s metrics for each season. First number is Impact Rating, 2nd number is points rating , 3rd number is Offense Rating and last number is defense rating. Thus in 2008-2009 Gordon had a 45% Impact (4th in league) and played 6.94 points better than average per 48 minutes. He was 8.55 points better than average on offense and 1.6 points worse than average on defense.

Ben Gordon’s Adjusted +/- Metrics.

2004-2005 42%  5.37 6.12  0.76

2005-2006  -2%  -1.25 2.95  4.19

2006-2007 23%  6.38  8.67  2.29

2007-2008  -16%  -6.44 1.96  8.4

2008-2009  45% !!  6.94 8.55 1.6

These numbers include playoff performance. Ben Gordon had a 77% Impact rating in Celtics Bulls series!

Throw out 2007-2008 (coaching problems etc.).  Gordon averages 4.5 points above average overall and Impact of 27%.  In a typical season these averages would place Gordon 40th in points and 15th in  impact.   He is young and healthy. This would indicate he deserves one of the Top 40 salaries in the league. Using the methods described on  page 234 of Mathletics (based on Value of Replacement Player from baseball) I get that (assuming salary cap does not move up) Gordon should make around $14 million per year.


  1. As a Bulls fan I’ll try to leave my Gordon biases out of this comment. From a statistics perspective I wonder if you aren’t paying enough service to two factors here. One, it seems based on the metric above that Ben is very inconsistent from year to year. I take your point regarding the very down year of 2007-08 (still trying to block that Bulls team out of memory!) but by stating that he is averaging an overall impact of 27% is ignoring the game to game and season to season variability that comes with Ben being Ben, and which would seem to be of some importance. It seems a case could be made for a team to prefer a lower impact, but more consistent player (that is, consistent in impact across games/seasons) because then the team knows what it is getting on a night in night out basis. I agree with you that I would take 2009 Celtics series Ben everyday of the week (and pay him top 40 money), but as per his past history, there are no guarantees that you will get that. Also wondering if you have any statistics that can take into account a contract year? That doesn’t seem like something that should be overlooked and is often left out of this type of discussion. I know motivation is nearly impossible to quantify at this point, but are there numbers showing an average x% increase in y during a contract year? Anyway, just some thoughts. I enjoy your work and am looking forward to diving into your book when I have some time.

    Comment by Adam — October 1, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  2. Do you think this performance will translate to his new team?

    Comment by Paul King — October 1, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  3. I really think you are making the classic mistake of trying to tell the whole story with one (or just a few) stats. The simple fact that BG gets subbed out at the end of games for a defensive replacement ought to tell you that $14 mil/year is an absurd number. This is a guy who has never had a PER above 19, can’t sniff an all-star game, and can’t get to the rim (blocked on 25%+ of his close in attempts) or dribble or pass out of a double team reliably. On his good nights, used appropriately, he’s a rich man’s Steve Kerr. On his off nights, he’s a poor man’s 2009 Allen Iverson. Even the numbers you cite scream that BG needs good players around him to be good and can’t begin to carry a team by himself. Is that the kind of guy to whom you want to pay a quarter of your cap space?

    The real problem for BG and the Bulls was that they had no one better to keep him coming off of the bench for 30 min/night. In that role, he’s a top 3 sixth man and his deficiencies aren’t nearly as obvious. But as the starting scoring guard playing 40 minutes he’s very average overall. Go back and look at what Delonte West did to him in the first quarter of the game in which he broke his wrist. On a team with the best player in basketball in LBJ, the Cavs ran their offense through West to take advantage of the matchup with Gordon. West abused Gordon and took him out of the game with foul trouble. Unless you’ve got three other guys better than BG, not to mention somebody willing to go well into the luxury tax, there is no way you pay BG $14 mil.

    Comment by Harold — October 1, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

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