Veteran Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon spent his first five NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls after being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Connecticut.

Gordon helped propel the Bulls into the playoffs his first four seasons, but signed a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract with the Pistons for the 2009-10 season.

"I felt that we were on the way," Gordon said of his years with the Bulls under coach Scott Skiles. "We had that young team of Kirk (Hinrich) and Luol (Deng) and Chris Duhon. We were a young team and I felt we were on our way. But that's just how the NBA is. Teams get broken up."

Now Gordon watches a different cast of Bulls players thrive under second-year coach Tom Thibodeau.

"He's probably the best coach in the league," Gordon said after Friday morning's shootaround at the United Center in advance of the Pistons' game against the Bulls. "Looking at what they have been able to do without their MVP player in Derrick (Rose) ... and just the consistency their ballclub has ... it seems like they don't miss a step."