Ben Gordon may have improved more than any Bull last year. Before this season, I had doubts about how much room Gordon had to improve. Then he posted a career high 18.31 PER after not topping 15.00 in either of his previous seasons. That placed him 11th in PER among SGs. Gordon also improved the most of any Bull in Oliver's system. Gordon went from .381 and .383 PW%s to a .662 PW% and nearly doubled his Player Win total from last year, going from 4.2 to 8.2. Hollinger said this of Gordon in his 05/06 season review, "But without a high TS%, it's hard to envision stardom for him -- at the moment he's a guy who creates a lot of shots but doesn't bring much else to the table. Gordon responded this season by raising his TS% 4% from 53.1% to 57.2%. He did this by dramatically improving his inside scoring for the second consecutive season. Improving from 41.3% to 45.4% to 50.3%. Ben has done this by largely eliminating the signature shot of his rookie year, the floater (and in the process thankfully reducing the use of "the giant killer" on Comcast). More and more Gordon has driven all the way to the rim for layups or pulled up for a jumpshot, both are higher percentage shots and more likely to draw fouls. Which was the second ingredient to Gordon's rising TS%. Gordon shot an additional 2 FTA/40 min compared to last season. However, he still has to raise his TS% another 2-3% to be among the league leaders for guards and acheive the stardom Hollinger described.
Gordon also spent significant time at the point for the first time in his NBA career. According to 82games.com, Gordon played 5% of the team's minutes at PG. That's almost 200 minutes without Hinrich or Duhon on the court. Gordon was suprisingly effective with a 31.8 PER. That isn't an argument for Gordon starting at point, but it does support the idea that for 5-10 min/g Gordon can play a pseudo point where he looks to score every time down the floor. Helping to end the Duhon saga.
Where can Gordon still improve? If he ever has a good first month of the season, his overall numbers will be better in reference to other players. But, it won't mean he's a better player. The obvious place to look is turnovers. Hopefully next season Gordon can bring his turnovers down the way he did in his 2nd season. (I'm speculating that when a player expands his offensive game that a rise in turnovers accompanies that expansion. Then the following season is when that player reduces his turnovers back down. Gordon and Deng both reduced their turnovers in their second seasons only to have them rise when they expanded their offensive games this season.) Gordon still could get to the FT line more. His personal fouls have also trended down all three seasons. His decision making and passing have improved enough that he could finally play some point, and should continue to get better with experience. Gordon's height will also probably feel alot more tolerable when his defensive replacement is actually taller than little Ben. For now he's still the only player on the team that consistently can create his own shot.