Because it’s Thursday, here’s a video of Kings guard and Cavs summer-league standout Pooh Jeter talking on a sailboat, courtesy of Draft Express. Even though the Cavs and him ended up going in different directions, I figure he’s still worth keeping up with. Also, he’s on a sailboat. Here’s the link to part 2 of the interview.
Archive for September, 2010
-Here’s the transcript of LeBron and Maverick Carter on CNN. Enjoy. Included: LeBron saying there’s a race factor to the antipathy directed at him. Yes, this was something Barry Bonds leaned on as well. I’ll just say two things:
1. Race is a factor in a lot of things, regardless of whether we’re aware of it or not.
2. Like Bethlehem Shoals said on twitter earlier, the fact that LeBron is actually saying something “controversial” is almost as important as whether or not you agree with what he said.
-And here’s an article on J.J. Hickson being ready to emerge as a leader. He certainly seemed ready to go when I talked to him in Vegas. Good night.
PS — RIP Sally Menke, Quentin Tarantino’s longtime editor and a major force behind Pulp Fiction, one of my five favorite movies ever and other great works, and a victim of the recent LA heatwave. This goes out to all the Tex Winters, Tom Thibodeaus, Michael Pietsches, great role plays, and whoever else worked behind the scenes of greatness. Without people like you, genius would just be another six-letter word. As someone who’s had the privilege of having the best editors on the planet over the course of my brief and relatively insignificant “career,” I know something about just how crucial you were to the art you helped make. Wherever you are now, I hope you’re getting the credit and praise you deserve.
[I’m] excited. Motivated. Any word that explains, that expresses my joy and the way I feel about getting back on the floor, that’s the word I’d use. These past four years I’ve wanted to play, I’ve wanted the opportunity to get out there but it just hasn’t been my time. But I feel like now is my time and I’m ready for it.
— Daniel Gibson on Cavs media day.
The last time I posted on Cavs: The Blog, I gave my take on Daniel Gibson’s shot at redemption this season as he enters his fifth year with the Cavaliers. Exactly one week later, several Cavs players, including Gibson himself, echoed similar sentiments in front of dozens of reporters.
For those of you who missed it, yesterday was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ annual media day in Independence, Ohio. The stage was used by a handful of the team’s veterans and new coach Byron Scott to talk about how motivated they are this season, on a mission to prove many of the naysayers wrong.
“We’re gonna come in and work hard and we’re gonna shock some people this year,” J.J. Hickson told reporters at the Cavaliers’ practice facility. Antawn Jamison showed similar determination, telling the media, “We’ve still got enough talent to win and perform at a very high level.”
However, while many of the media day player quotes revolved around the idea of being doubted this season, quite a few Cavaliers touched upon the importance of new coach Byron Scott’s offense. Second year guard Danny Green stressed that he likes Scott’s mentality, stating that he’s “all about running and getting up and down the floor” like he did in college. Similarly, two of Cleveland’s more athletic players, J.J. Hickson and Christian Eyenga, both acknowledged that running is a big part of their game and that they believe Coach Scott’s offense will complement those abilities, which is worth noting since they both got a taste of what to expect this year in Las Vegas Summer League action.
As the quotes about what to expect in a new up-tempo offense kept surfacing, Cleveland’s guards continually mentioned one another and how they thought they could do big things this season. Anthony Parker noted his high expectations for Daniel Gibson this year, telling reporters, “He’s been in an unfortunate circumstance the last couple years, but we all know his talent level and what he can contribute, and I look forward to him really having a big year this year.”
On the other hand, Mo Williams expressed some lofty goals for his old teammate, yet new Cleveland addition, Ramon Sessions. “I expect a lot out of [Ramon],” Williams told the media on Monday. “I expect him to play big minutes, I expect him to play a big part,” he elaborated.
Despite the fact that Daniel Gibson saw very limited action late in the season and in the post-season last year and that Ramon Sessions was with a different team altogether, it seems that last season’s starting backcourt tandem has already warmed up to the idea of playing extended minutes alongside the two guards. And why not? If Cleveland can throw out a team that includes at least two guards capable of pushing the basketball as Byron Scott envisions, the Cavaliers could have many of the league’s more traditional teams on their heels this season.
With this idea of exploiting potential mismatches in the back of his mind, it will be interesting to see how Coach Scott uses his trio of quick and talented, yet undersized, guards. Perhaps he will spend a small chunk of each game using a three guard set, something common amongst the college ranks yet rarely used in the NBA.
When asked if he had any doubts on whether or not the trio of Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions, and himself could be successful on the court this year, Daniel Gibson told Cavs announcer Fred McLeod, “Not at all… You can think about us having to guard [bigger guards], but at the same token those guys have to come on the other end and guard us.” Gibson followed this up by stating that in a faster offense it will be more difficult for larger guards to chase him around, assuring Fred “I definitely think that we can be successful with us three, because we go hard.”
Ramon Sessions echoed similar sentiments, stating that, “Me, Boobie Gibson, and Mo, we’re three explosive, fast guys, so it’s going to be tough for teams to defend.”
However, just because Cleveland’s guards are all on board with the idea of a smaller offensive front, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Byron Scott will continually look to implement it throughout the course of the season. There’s no doubt that a lineup featuring quick guards in certain moments of the game has the potential to exploit slower teams, but it could come at the expense of the defense. Additionally, Coach Scott has yet to reveal his starting shooting guard, telling media day reporters “I have the starters in my head.”
Regardless, it’s nice to see the current group of guards band together and focus on executing the team’s new offense as they prepare for the new season. After all, as Mo Williams put it yesterday, “This is the hand [we were] dealt, and you’ve got to play the best you can.”
But in the end, it will be up to Byron Scott to show us whether or not his trio of guards is a true three of a kind or simply a trick up his sleeve.
I summarized the situation on the other website owned by a large national entity that I work for. Go boldly forth. We’ll see how this plays out on media day.
(Every athlete’s YouTube montage should be set to “List of Demands.”)
-Chris Douglas-Roberts and Brandon Jennings have both ripped Mo Williams on twitter after the Mo “considered retiring” story. Something to watch when the Cavs play the Bucks.
-On the Jamario/Jawad starter controversy: you’ve gotta hope Jamario gets the starting spot. Jawad is the more complete player, but if the team needs him to make plays, the offense will be in serious trouble. Jamario can run with the point guards, create turnovers, and is a pretty good shooter when he has his feet set. Jamario’s production will be a pretty good watermark of how the Sessions/Mo backcourt is working: if they do what they’re supposed to, he’ll thrive. If not, he could be an issue.
-Question: should I feel guilty about still feeling like LeBron should be defended from “Kevin Durant is more clutch than LeBron” talks?
Say what you will about LeBron’s decision, but that meme still makes absolutely no sense. The Cavs, and LeBron, were very good in the clutch. The Thunder, and Durant, were not. Durant hasn’t won a playoff series, and I watched him miss game-winners against the Lakers last season. I watched LeBron hit game-winners against the Magic, Pistons, and Wizards in the playoffs. Forget agendas; I’m just pro-sense.
-LeBron’s Q rating remains high among African-Americans.
-Carmelo to the Nets seems to make a lot of sense for both sides at this point. I am so not sold on Favors in any way, shape, or form.
-Cavaliers summer league invite Rashad McCants may get a training camp invite.
-A million congratulations to D.J. Foster for getting hired by the Clippers. Great guy and a talented writer.
-Get ready for a lot of Heat coverage.
Courtesy of Yahoo!’s Marc Spears (side note: please, please just switch it to “Yahoo,” guys.)
As you know i was born and raised in Houston, TX. Never once stayed outside the state for more than two weeks and the time I did, that was for basketball. But after two years of college at the University of Texas I decided to make the jump. You can just imagine how fast my mind was racing going to a city so many miles out of my comfort zone not knowing one single person. But I thank God it was Cleveland! Because From day one the city embraced me and made me feel like I was home. My Second HOME. And as time went on I began to see why we connected. Cleveland is a never die city, city of loyalty, hard-workers, passion, desire, and toughness. A lot of the same characteristics I have in me and that inspired me. So I made a promise to myself that every day I stepped foot on that basketball court I would show the world what Cleveland was all about. Leaving everything i had on the court. So no matter what obstacle was placed in front of me, I would bust right through it. No matter how high, I would get over it. Or how wide I would get around it. N I hope I did that and will continue to do that. I said that to say, I know right now emotions are high, and people are confused about the way things went down. But I’m here to say DO NOT FORGET THAT WE STILL HERE. and WE GONE GRIND!!!! The Cavaliers haven’t went anywhere, just lost a piece. Everything in life happens for a reason, Some which we dont understand and never will. Somethings we cant control, But the thing we can control is our passion and our love for city of Cleveland and state of OHIO. And that every single night we take that we floor We Will represent. Blood Sweat and Tears. We will go hard. Just like you. From the bottom to the top, this organization is committed to winning and we wont stop now… Cant stop now. I LOVE you. We Love YOU. And together We gone make it Happen. O H I O. Hang in there…
Daniel Gibson started this off-season on the right foot with the Cleveland fanbase, writing them a letter showing his appreciation for the way the entire city supported him throughout the first four seasons of his professional career. For the Cavalier faithful, who have shouted “shoot, Boobie, shoot!” ever since his rookie year, this only further endeared Gibson to them.
After spending his entire life in Texas, Daniel Gibson’s road to Cleveland was one filled with great opportunity and unfamiliarly low expectations. As a McDonald’s All-American recruit in high school, former Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and AP Honorable Mention All-American in his second and final year of college hoops, Gibson was used to all of the attention. But that would change when he was drafted by the Cavaliers in the second round of the 2006 draft, with less than only 20 players taken in the remainder of the draft. Although Gibson was able to ink a two-year guaranteed deal relatively quickly, he had to be a little nervous knowing that second round picks aren’t guaranteed a contract and that the Cavs already had a first round selection that year in Shannon Brown.
On the court Gibson started out slow, which was likely a mixture of those low expectations and being stuck behind veteran guards Larry Hughes, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, and David Wesley. But instead of sulking, he realized that there was a lot to learn from those players:
On and off the court, Eric Snow and David Wesley have helped me out a lot as a young guard. But another guard, Damon Jones, has really been great, too. Our relationship is basketball, but he keeps me relaxed. When I’m out there on the floor, he tells me what I’m doing right and wrong. But he also always keeps me laughing and smiling. Sometimes you can be way too tense out there and he keeps you in a relaxed state of mind. And that’s really when I perform at my best.
And boy did Daniel Gibson look relaxed in his coming out party during game 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals in Cleveland. When most rookies would look shook, Gibson helped the Cavaliers close out the Detroit Pistons with 31 points on 5-5 three-point shooting, leading Cleveland to their first ever NBA Finals berth.
The following year expectations were raised to a level that Gibson was used to, only on a stage far bigger than anything he experienced in Texas. But, just as he had done everywhere else in his career, Daniel Gibson rose to the challenge and played up to his potential. He averaged 10.4 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game in 30.4 minutes per contest, all of which are current career highs. Gibson also shot a phenomenal 44.0% from three-point range, his second best career percentage, despite taking 4.6 threes per game, a high volume of shots which marks a career-high as well. Ultimately, one of the only things that went wrong for Gibson in his sophomore season was an ankle injury which cost him 24 games.
But it seemed that after his second season in the league, Daniel Gibson found himself shackled to the bench courtesy of head coach Mike Brown, was known to prefer taller, more physical guards. After signing a new contract in 2008, one which made him a millionaire, Gibson suddenly saw less action for the Cavaliers. Seemingly healthy after having ankle surgery, Gibson went from averaging a career-best 30.4 minutes per game in that 2007-08 season to averaging 23.9 minutes per contest in 2008-09 and only 19.1 minutes per game last season.
The worst part of the entire ordeal was the fact that it wasn’t as though Gibson’s skills were diminished and there was a clear cut reason for the dip in minutes. Over the last two seasons he averaged roughly the same amount of points per minute while cutting down on his turnovers and personal fouls per minute. And then there’s the shooting. Last season Daniel Gibson shot a career-best 46.6% from the field and a career-high 47.7% from three, which was only good enough for third best in the NBA.
Fans clamored for “more Boobie,” not just because of the grade school humor, but because they wanted to see the passionate guard in action. They cited his superior shooting, improved post and on-ball defense, and great feel for the game as reasons why he should’ve seen more time. Yet he remained seated, experiencing a steady dip in minutes over the last couple months of last season, seeing only 23 total minutes of action in five of the team’s 11 playoff games. Twenty-three total minutes. In the same amount of team post-season games (11) in the 2008 playoffs Daniel Gibson played a total of 284 minutes, checking into each and every game. His least amount of post-season action came the following year, when he totaled 172 minutes played. Yet somehow he was only useful for 23 minutes in the 2010 playoffs, setting a new dubious post-season low.
Whether it was because of Mike Brown or other circumstances, Daniel Gibson understands that last season’s dip in minutes despite an increase in efficiency wasn’t exactly evenhanded. “I definitely feel like I didn’t get a fair chance,” Gibson explained, speaking of last season. However, with a new coach and offensive system in town, he’s ready to move on. He elaborates, expressing that “as a person and a player I continue to work and have faith in God and the system we’ve put in that it will turn… I’m ready to play and ready to help.”
And it’s this kind of attitude that has new coach Byron Scott taking notice. “Number one, he can shoot. He can make shots. Number two, he’s tough. Boobie’s a little warrior,” Scott raved when speaking of the fifth year guard.
On the other side of things, Daniel Gibson should be very happy with everything that Byron Scott has talked about since becoming the head coach of the Cavaliers. Not only has he stressed a faster paced, up and down fastbreak offense, but he has also mentioned playing two ball-handling guards at once. In addition to Mo Williams and Ramon Sessions, this could mean that Gibson will be one of the focal points of a small backcourt, whereas he was just another undersized guard in Mike Brown’s system. It’s with this notion in mind that Daniel Gibson has a lot of hope for the upcoming season:
We still have a group of guys who have a lot of talent — including myself. I haven’t had the chance to show it the last couple of years but I feel like I can be a key asset in the right situation. I think we have a great group of guys ready to do something big.
And perhaps this is the year that Gibson once again gets to do something big. With a new coach, a new system, and even a new bride and newborn son at home this season, fans of Northeast Ohio can expect new life from one of their favorite players and the second longest tenured Cavalier on the roster.
Via the twitter of Windhorst, Jawad Williams has decided to accept the Cavs’ 1-year, $1.02 million qualifying offer for next season. Good stuff. Jawad is a complete player, an Ohio native, and a very versatile guy who should work in any of Byron Scott’s lineups. ULTIMATE JAWAD SHALL RIDE FOR ANOTHER YEAR.