Bulls Fource: Team’s Rookies Battle Dr. Zero
Bulls Fource Accepts Challenge; Protects Bulls Legacy
Rookies Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon and Andres Nocioni take on Dr. Zero
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Ben Gordon |
Illustrations by Ryan Thurlwell (www.thewanderland.com).
Ben Gordon has positioned himself among the NBA’s best reserve players this season and among those thought to be in the running for the league’s annual Sixth Man Award. Should writers and broadcasters vote Gordon, 21, this year’s winner, he would become the first rookie, and also the youngest ever, to covet the Award. Roy Tarpley is currently the youngest (by age and years of NBA experience) to have won, doing so during the 1987.88 season, just 23 years old and his second season in the NBA, as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
Here is a breakdown of the NBA’s top reserve players this season who have come off the bench in more than half of their appearances:
|G||GS||Player, Team||PPG||MPG||FG%||3FG%|| 48 ppg
|56||7||Jerry Stackhouse, DAL||14.9||28.9||.414||.267||24.7 (41st)||0|
|82||11||Ricky Davis, BOS||16.0||32.9||.462||.339||23.3 (40th)||3|
|82||3||Ben Gordon, CHI||15.1||24.4||.411||.405||29.6 (11th)||4|
|82||5||Earl Boykins, DEN||12.4||26.4||.413||.337||22.5 (46th)||2|
Bulls rookie sensation Ben Gordon has a way of heating up quickly in the fourth quarter. The 6-3, 200-pounder scored 10+ points in the fourth quarter 21 times this season, including a 22-point outburst in a 102-99 comeback win for the Bulls at Charlotte (03/30) – the second most 10+ point fourth quarter performances in the NBA this season. In those 21 games, Chicago went 13-8. LeBron James lead the NBA in 4th quarter heroics, scoring 10+ points 22 times. Other leaders include, Gilbert Arenas with 20 such performances, Kobe Bryant has 19 and Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury and Amare Stoudemire have 17.
Rookie Chris Duhon helped the Bulls post a 114-105 comeback win at Atlanta (04/16) by hitting eight of nine three-pointers, including five of six in the third quarter alone. He finished with a season-high 24 points and set franchise record for three’s in a single game (8) and three’s in a half (6). He also tied Craig Hodges’ (vs. IND, 2nd quarter, 03/13/89) franchise record of five treys in a quarter (5 in the 3rd quarter). Duhon’s eight three-balls also ties the all-time NBA record for three’s by a rookie, set by Jason Kidd (8-12 3FG on 04/11/95).
With his career-high 30 points at Dallas (02/08), Bulls forward Luol Deng joined guard Ben Gordon as two of the three rookies in the NBA this season to score 30 or more points in a game. Gordon scored an NBA-rookie high 31 points on three occasions (12/11 vs. MIN, 01/12 vs. PHI, 01/29 vs. BOS), then shattered that mark with 35 points (including 22 in the fourth quarter) at Charlotte (03/30). All four of Gordon’s 30 point games came off of the bench, eclipsing Cedric Ceballos and Michael Brooks’ previous rookie record of two games with 30 or more points off the bench.
Do the Du
Rookie point guard Chris Duhon was inserted into the Bulls’ starting lineup on Nov. 24 at Utah, and helped the team snap its nine-game losing streak en route to their first win of the year. Since that 0-9 start, Chicago finished with a 47-25 mark with Duhon in its starting lineup. Among all rookies, he was first in assists at 4.9 apg (1.6 apg better than second place), 3rd in steals per game with 1.00spg and 7th in minutes per game at 26.5mpg. He was also 15th in the NBA in assists per 48 minutes with 8.8 ap48 and 7th in the League in assists per turnover with 3.34 A/TO.
Along with Orlando’s Dwight Howard, former University of Connecticut teammates Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor are battling each other for the 2005 got milk? Rookie of the Year Award. Howard was the top pick (to Orlando) in NBA Draft 2004, while Okafor was the second overall selection (to Charlotte) and Gordon went third to Chicago.
Here is a breakdown of the front-runners for the award:
|Player||Team, Record||Playoffs?||PPG (48 min)||FG%||20+ pts||30+ pts|
|Ben Gordon||Chicago, 47-35||4th seed||15.1 (29.6)||.411||24||4|
|Emeka Okafor||Charlotte, 18-64||Eliminated||15.1 (20.4)||.447||16||1|
|Dwight Howard||Orlando, 36-46||Eliminated||12.0 (17.6)||.520||11||0|
The Bulls hope these items, sent to coaches and the media, will help garner the team’s rookies some postseason honors.
En Fuego in the Fourth
Not only is Ben Gordon’s 35 points (11-17 FG, 6-8 3FG) a season-high, eclipsing his previous best of 31 points (three times), but it’s also an NBA rookie season high. Gordon scored 22 points (8-12 FG, 3-4 3FG) in the fourth quarter at Charlotte, leading Chicago to a 102-99 comeback win.
Gordon’s 22 points tied for the most in the NBA by a player in one quarter. The last Bull to score 22+ points in a quarter was Jamal Crawford, when he scored 24 points in the fourth quarter on April 11, 2004 at Toronto.
Ben Gordon has quickly established himself as a serious threat of draining the three-ball. Gordon is stroking 40.5 percent of his three-pointers. Chicago’s franchise record for three-point field goal percentage in a single season is .524 (89-170) set by Steve Kerr during the 1994.95 season.
Gordon has hit 4+ three-pointers in 9 games this season, including a season-high six threes vs. Miami (02/22) and at Charlotte (03/30). He has also nailed five two times, vs. Detroit (01/03) and vs. Boston (01/29). Against Philadelphia (01/12), Gordon buried four three-balls in the fourth quarter, tying the United Center record for threes in one quarter.
What's Up, Doc?
“The Bulls’ rookies not only have come of age quickly, they were the right kind of players and young men from the start. These kind of guys all NBA teams strive to build around. They all come from strong winning programs. They are young men of the best character. They listen to, respect and obey their coaches. They are willing to work hard, play the game the right way, and they want to win. They play hard every single possession. The only way you beat them, you have to match that. If that’s unnatural for your team, you’re in trouble.”
— Boston Head Coach Doc Rivers
Stats above include all regular games.