After two tumultuous years with the Charlotte Bobcats, shooting guard Ben Gordon found his way to the Orlando Magic. The former Sixth Man of The Year will be going into his 11th year in the league, while playing for his fourth team when he officially laces them up in Magic colors come October. The opportunity with the Magic came as a surprise to many, but Gordon appears ready to come in and help the young players, while also revitalizing his own career.
While he’s been a very productive player for much of his career, the last few seasons have seen Gordon struggle mightily. After averaging 18.5 points and 41.5 percent from three over five seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Gordon saw his numbers drop with the Detroit Pistons and Bobcats. In three years with Detroit, the former UConn Husky averaged 12.4 points and 37.9 percent from three. In a season and a half with the Bobcats, Gordon posted averages of 10 points per game and 37.7 percent shooting from deep.
When he was formally introduced by the team, Gordon said that the process of signing with the Magic started pretty early. “I would say late in June, my agent just kind of reached out to me and said they wanted to interview me and talk to me a little bit,” said Gordon when asked about it. He continued on to say, “Then I came in for a workout, and within a couple of days they offered me. So, I think just the relationship I had with Scott Perry and Matt Lloyd, you know, working with those two in Chicago and Detroit they knew what kind of person I was, my work ethic and kind of what I brought to the table. So, they showed some interest right away and I couldn’t turn down this opportunity.”
It’s clear that Gordon was a target for the Magic from the start. After moving Arron Afflalo on draft night, the Magic needed to bring in players who could help improve their inefficiencies from beyond the arc. In signing Gordon, a career 40 percent shooter from deep, along with floor stretching big man Channing Frye, the Magic have improved their shooting from deep.
While the last few years have been tough on the former Husky, he’s ready for the opportunity in Orlando to revive his career. OrlandoMagic.Com writer John Denton asked Gordon about this when he was introduced, to which he had this to say:
“I’m really excited. You know, it’ll be my 11th year in the league, been around a while, so every time you go into a new opportunity, it’s a great opportunity. Just looking to revitalize myself; come here and assist the young guys. I think they’ve got a lot of great, young talent and they just need some veteran guys around them to kind of help them along the way. So, I’m looking to come in, contribute and just looking forward to a great opportunity.”
Gordon is clearly excited about the chance to help this young Magic team grow, and to turn his career back around. The 11-year vet feels as though he’ll be able to help the likes of Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris continue to grow as well. “I think I can be a great help,” said Gordon. He continued to say, “You know, the NBA season is so long and I’ve seen so many different scenarios. I’ve been in the position where my rookie year we started off 0-and-9 and ended up making the playoffs. So, I just think having some of that veteran experience can help those guys along the way, especially when the season isn’t going as well; just keep them kind of even keel. So, you know, I think the veteran experience Willie (Green) and myself are going to bring is going to be very helpful to them.”
Signing Gordon was the ultimate low-risk, high-reward move for the Magic. He’s coming into Orlando motivated and ready to work hard to help the young members of the team, while also turning his own career around. While it is officially a two-year agreement between the two sides, the Magic can easily cut ties with Gordon following the season, or even during the season should he not perform up to what they’re expecting, or should he cause problems off the court.
It’s a great opportunity for both parties, and maybe, just maybe Ben Gordon is able to find what allowed him to become the NBA’s Sixth Man of The Year nine years ago.