Monday , Dec , 31 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Chicago Bulls’ Ben Gordon Dilemma: Starter Or Sixth Man?

NBA players are driven by status. They want SUVs with eye-popping spinners the size of midgets. And they also want members of the opposite sex with two eye popping midgets of another kind. I digress. On-court, players are driven by a different kind of status. They want to start games, so they can maximize shots and minutes. Maxing shots and minutes usually means more money when contract negotiations begin …

Chicago Bulls' Ben Gordon Dilemma: Starter Or Sixth Man?NBA players are driven by status. They want SUVs with eye-popping spinners the size of midgets. And they also want members of the opposite sex with two eye popping midgets of another kind.

I digress. On-court, players are driven by a different kind of status. They want to start games, so they can maximize shots and minutes. Maxing shots and minutes usually means more money when contract negotiations begin.

Money aside, it’s also about perception. Players want to be perceived as an important starter, not an off-the-bench reserve. But some players are clearly better as the sixth man. And by producing off the pine, they make their team better, too.

This is the case with Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls. For too long, Gordon and the Bulls have struggled with his role. Is he a sixth man or starter? Well, both are better with the sharpshooter as a reserve. Here’s why:

Mindset Matters …

  •  As a starter, Gordon feels pressure to create shots for himself and teammates. This is tough for any player, especially an undersized two-guard. So Gordon struggles in the first five.
  • As a reserve, Gordon can relax and look for his own points. And he doesn’t have to worry about setting-up offensively-challenged teammates.

Facing The Second-Unit …

  • As a starter and first option, Gordon often draws opponents’ best perimeter defenders. Athletic, lockdown specialists typically give smaller guards like Gordon trouble.
  • As a reserve, Gordon goes against second-units. Instead of shut-down defenders, he faces back-ups, giving him an obvious advantage.

Chicago interim coach Jim Boylan made the right call shifting Gordon back to the bench. The former Connecticut Husky responded with 25 points in last night’s win against New York.

Right now, individual status and numbers mean very little in Chicago. The Bulls need wins, so players have to sacrifice for the team. Translation: Gordon will continue soldiering on as a reserve.

Is Ben Gordon a starter or sixth man? Let us know in the comment box below or hit us up in . Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.