Archive for September, 2010

Here’s Pooh Jeter talking on a sailboat

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

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.

Lebron’s CNN transcript and other things

Wednesday, September 29th, 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.

Links To The Present+ September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

First, thoughts/prayers/condolences go out to Anderson Varejao and his family on the passing of his grandfather.

Second, some projections for the 2010-2011 Cavs:

Kelly Dwyer : 12 Wins

John Hollinger: 29 Wins

Marc Stein: 27th Worst Team (26 wins in 2009)

Hardcourt Mayhem: 8th seed (has 4 Central Division teams in playoffs!)

Third, some thoughts on the Cavaliers Starting 5:

J.J. and Antawn together

Not one of the top 20 lineups used by the Cavs in 2009/2010 could be constructed today, but there were quite a few LeBron-less lineups that fared above average.

A lineup of Gibson-M.Williams-Moon-Varejao-Ilgauskas actually outscored opponents in 54 minutes of floor time.

Mo Williams will win a few games by himself this season.  Look at what he did to the Cavs in 2007/2008.

Brian Windhorst on “Who plays small forward?”

How the 2011 Cavaliers will write the LeBron Narrative

Life after LeBron will be challenging, but it does offer the Cavaliers a chance to exhibit some pride.  Despite their willingness to smile at being called everything from “All the Kings Men”, the “LeBronettes”, “sidekicks”, etc etc – deep down, these are professional athletes that would like nothing better than to rewrite LeBron James 7-year history.  If they are miserable, and Kelley Dwyer’s 12 win prediction becomes reality, it reinforces everything that everyone has said about the Cavaliers up to this point, and it vindicates LeBron James’ decision to leave the team.  In a way, the jury is still out on all this, because to this point, everything has been hypothetical.  Basketball is not a discrete game like baseball, so it is very difficult to quantify the exact affect one player has on a team.  According to John Hollinger’s Wins Added statistic, replacing LeBron with an average-valued player like John Salmons would result in a net loss of about 24 wins.  For 6 years, the national media gave LeBron a free pass when the Cavaliers came up short because he was playing with a “ragtag group of role players”.  However, last year’s team was no “rag-tag” group.  The Cavaliers were considered by many to be the deepest and most versatile team in the NBA, a label they had never previously owned.  Even now the stench of the Boston series is a forgotten memory to many outside Cleveland.  In the wake of the apocalyptic fall from grace, however, many felt that LeBron was the reason for the collapse.  “He can’t leave now, not after THAT performance.” and “It’s on him” were commonly read/heard among NBA circles.  The tale of Cleveland: Spring 2010 will be told over the next 50 years – and no one has even written the prologue yet.  How this season plays out, in particular, how the Cavaliers fare without their former star will go a long way in determining how that story is eventually told.

What the 2011 Cavaliers can tell us about the 2010 Cavaliers

Whether or not the current Cavalier roster is a competitive NBA team remains to be seen, but we already know that last year the current roster truly was a “supporting cast” to LeBron James and in some cases Shaq.  This year there is no dominant player to play off of, no 300+ lb glacier to “get going”, no coaches mandate to sacrifice shots to get others acclimated, and maybe most importantly, there will be no free agency circus.

Mo Williams often played the role of “distributor” and was delegated to “running the offense” which, while fully capable, he was more successful when he was aggressive, driving, and given the green light to bomb away.  He’ll be doing plenty of shooting this season, as he is now arguably the Cavalier’s best offensive player.  It’s intuitive to think his efficiency will decrease without all the wide open looks.  However, he was just as efficient in Milwaukee with a higher usage rate than he had with LeBron.  It’s possible that the attention of being the go-to scorer will hamper Mo’s effectiveness, it’s also possible he will do just fine.  A bad bet is that he will soar to new heights and set career highs in Byron Scott’s up-tempo system.  The question is whether Mo Williams is a spot-up shooter that becomes a head case under pressure or borderline all-star that plays better when he has the green light.

Boobie Gibson is one of the easiest players in the NBA to overrate or underrate.  Cavalier fans will rightly point out his ability to bury spot up 3s, regardless of close-outs or pressure.  Game 6 of the ECF is the first of many clutch Boobie highlights that comes to mind.  He has also shown the ability to hold his ground against strong point guards by getting low and using his very quick hands to force turnovers.  However, Boobie has really only proven himself to be great at one thing: hitting spot up 3s.  Last year he seemed to be playing very well and was unfairly benched.  He has the ability to be an impact player and a quality 6th man – hopefully, Byron Scott’s system will look something like this. Boobie could easily set career highs this year and he may need to for the Cavs to be competitive.  He’ll get plenty of minutes, so we’ll truly find out what his ceiling is this year:  spot up 3 point threat or something more?  We’ll also find out if Mike Brown messed up by making him the odd man out last season.

Leon Powe was regarded by many as one of the best bench players in the NBA a few seasons ago.  He helped the Celtics win the Championship in 2008.  We all know what happened after that, but what many people forget is how young Leon is.  He’s only 26 and if his knees heal (a big if) he can be one of the Cavs few post-up threats in 2011.  It’s hard to imagine him posting a >20 PER like he did in 2008, but stranger things have happened and he has already proven he has the potential to succeed at that high of a level.  Most of his skills shine below the rim, and he has a very instinctive ability to draw fouls on the block.  If he can regain confidence (and quickness) he will be a bargain at the league minimum.  We won’t learn anything about last year’s team from Powe specifically, but if he performs well it will only add credence to the thought that the 2010 Cavaliers were VERY deep.

J.J. Hickson has the athletic ability to be an all-star.  He has the body to be a superstar.  The question is whether he has everything else.  Last year he showed a much better ability to convert around the basket area.  He was third in the NBA in shooting percentage around the hoop.  What I noticed most about J.J. was that he still doesn’t know how to take full advantage of his athleticism, but he has definitely improved his touch around the rim.  Gone are the days of him getting blocked multiple times on one possession.  He clearly has the highest ceiling on the Cavalier’s roster.  Unfortunately he was the beneficiary of some sweet needle-threading passes from a certain somebody last season, and will have to develop beyond PnR and flying in from the weak side.  He has the tools to make open shots from mid-range and the body to be a legitimate post threat.  How he improves defensively may be the single most important factor to the Cavaliers success this season.  He will play heavy minutes at the 4 and may even guard other 5s.  If he is a liability it will put Byron Scott in a predicament because he is the Cavaliers most explosive player, but if he makes rapid improvements (remember, based on games played this will essentially be his second full season, which is when big men often make the most improvements) he will help the Cavaliers greatly in addition to being a human highlight reel.  Let’s hope for more of THIS.

Ramon Sessions Ah, the guy NO ONE is taking about.  It’s not surprising when you think about it given the severity of OTHER NEWS this off-season, but I think people will be pleasantly-surprised with Sessions.  He needs a fresh start and a chance to be the primary ball-handler which coincidentally is exactly what the Cavs need.  I knew I could count on Hollinger to point out the benefits of the trade: “This was a fantastic deal that dropped West’s baggage and added a very underrated guard in Sessions. He’s a crafty pick-and-roll point guard who was miscast in Minnesota’s system but could thrive in Cleveland. He’s big enough to play some 2 and let Mo Williams play off the ball; alternatively, he allows the Cavs to listen to offers for Williams with a backup plan already in place.”  Sessions will ALWAYS be accompanied by a 2 guard with unlimited range, so it may mask his complete inability to hit from outside, and the Cavaliers have lacked a true-point guard since Andre Miller was traded – they certainly need one now with the primary distributor from last year gone.  Should his season in Minny prove to be a fluke (Sessions was mired in just about the worst possible situation) and should he follow a more traditional career arc for someone of his age/skills, the Cavaliers could be looking at showcasing one of the best young point guards in the NBA.

Anderson Varejao made a career out of playing off of LeBron James.  When he tried to do things on his own it got ugly in a hurry.  As commentator Colin Zvosec stated a few weeks ago in response to my comparison to Luis Scola: Scola is a much better offensive player.  (I concede) This could be a tough year for Varejao.  Last year the Cavaliers had the size with Shaq and Z to let Varejao defend 4s, whom he is notorious for bothering with his quickness and ability to switch on pick and rolls.  He is one of the best defensive players in the league as well as a premier rebounder.  However, I’m not sure how he’s going to fare guarding centers for 38 minutes a night.  Maybe Hickson/Hollins/Powe will share the load, but it could really get bad in the post this season.  Hopefully Andy develops a chemistry with Ramon Sessions and can wreak havoc on the weak-side.  We know what Varejao’s ceiling is and he’s not going to get BETTER without LeBron, the question is, did LeBron James make Anderson Varejao and his big contract or not?

If everything goes right this season, the Cavaliers can prove that they are a formidable bunch and not just “The James Gang”.  They aren’t as bad (on paper) as most people are making them out to be.  The question is whether they can be more than the sum of their parts and shine with a little more running, a lot more freedom, and a lot less standing around and watching LeBron.  If they can do that, win 40 games, and grab and 8 seed, they will cement 2010 as the year LeBron failed/quit/checked out and put to rest the meme that he needed more help to win.  Even better, if they earned a first round matchup with the Heat and stole a game it would be a successful season by all accounts.  And while it is crazy to think the Cavaliers can compete with the Heat for a championship, it’s not impossible to envision them matching up well with Miami: their best defensive players are Varejao, Moon, and Parker which just so happen to play PF, SF, SG.  Of course, all of this is moot if the Cavaliers trade Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison, but if they hang on and make a run at the playoffs, it will be the best revenge against LeBron and will finally end all the speculation as to how “worthy” the supporting cast really was.  LeBron didn’t own the devastating losses like the rest of the Cavaliers, or the fans, or the city of Cleveland.  He failed, so he ran away.  If the Heat fail to win the title and the Cavaliers prove to be better than anyone gave them credit, it’ll be on him.

Cavs media day talk sets the tone for guard-centric season.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

[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.

While it is known that Byron Scott will start Mo Williams, it will be interesting to see how he uses the team's other guards.

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.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

Mo Williams out until October with groin injury

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Via Windhorst’s twitter:

“G Mo Williams suffered groin muscle injury in workouts. Had an MRI, which showed no tear. Expected to be out until mid-October.”

This is not my favorite offseason ever. Hopefully Mo can make a full recovery and be with the team as soon as possible.

Mo Williams says he was misquoted

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

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.

Notes and Errata: September 23rd, 2010

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

(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.

Mo Williams considered retiring

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Courtesy of Yahoo!’s Marc Spears (side note: please, please just switch it to “Yahoo,” guys.)

Mo Williams is 27, healthy and has three years and $26 million remaining on his Cleveland Cavaliers contract. But none of that mattered much to him this summer after he watched LeBron James(notes) leave the Cavs to join the Miami Heat. Williams said he was so depressed by James’ exit that he considered walking away from the NBA.
“That’s how bad it got,” Williams said. “I contemplated it. I really sat down and envisioned life after basketball. …I really saw myself not playing.
Commentary: There’s a big difference between “considering” something and doing it. I know this, and most other people do as well. That’s what you do when a very bad thing happens and you get depressed. You consider doing crazy things. I don’t really understand how people can question Mo’s desire to play or love for the game just because his mind went there at one point or another. These things happen.
“You get back here to Cleveland, get around the new coaching staff, start a few workouts, get around the young guys and basically accept the fact that we are not what we once were,” he said. “We don’t have the No. 23 jersey hanging in the locker before every game now.”
James wasn’t the only key figure in the organization to leave in the offseason. Brown was fired and eventually replaced by Byron Scott. Former general manager Danny Ferry parted ways with the franchise, and his assistant, Chris Grant, was named the new GM. Assistant GM Lance Blanks left to help run the Phoenix Suns. The Cavs didn’t make any headline moves, acquiring role players in guard Ramon Sessions(notes) and center Ryan Hollins(notes), while trying to preserve future roster flexibility. Veteran forward Antawn Jamison(notes) is still on the roster, but both he and Williams could eventually find themselves on the trade block as the Cavs continue to rebuild.
“This summer was very, very stressful for me,” Williams said. “I really lost a lot of love for the game this summer.”
“You play this game for one reason. You play to win games and win championships. I couldn’t understand why a lot of things were happening to our organization, to a really good basketball team. I couldn’t really understand it. And when you don’t understand things, it can really stress you out.”
Commentary: Here’s the unfortunate elephant in the room: a major reason that a lot of things happened to this organization was that Mo couldn’t get it done against Orlando or Boston. And it’s not because Mo choked, or didn’t try hard enough. He’s just a player with the tools to thrive against those kinds of defenses. He’s a great shooter when he’s open, he can create his own shot sometimes, but he needs space to operate. When Orlando and Boston were able to collapse on LeBron and rotate back to Mo, he became ineffective. Really ineffective. And that sucks, because he wanted to win those games so badly and he was such a great complimentary player to LeBron. He just wasn’t given the necessary gifts to crack those defenses when they loaded up on LeBron.
“It’s crazy because ever since [James left], everybody I see, they approach me and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to be able to play your game now,’ ” Williams said. “ ‘You are going to be able to show everybody what you got,’ or ‘you’re going to be able to do this.’ I was happy with my role. We were winning basketball games. I was coming home every night a winner.
“Who can’t love that? That is what playing a role on a team is all about. …Everybody can’t be the star. I was perfectly comfortable being that piece.”
How long will it take for Williams to grow comfortable with his new role? Not even he knows. But after two months, he also understands it doesn’t make much sense to sit around pining for his departed teammate.
“We just got to go to work, man,” Williams said. “…At the end of the day we still have to move forward because the only people who feel sorry for us are the ones who have the Cavs uniform on and whoever is in the stands rooting for the Cavs. That’s it. Everybody else could care less.”
Commentary: Again, that’s the perfect attitude. It was never about Mo being a diva, or taking shots away, or choking the offense, or not putting the work in — he went all-out a few times against the Celtics, only to commit a turnover when the defense collapsed on his drive or force up a shot when they closed up his window. He wanted to win. He wanted to be able to do everything it took to win. He just wasn’t able to do enough when it counted. And in the end, there are much worse things. I just hope he can approach being a key offensive player on the 10-11 Cavs with the same passion he approached being a secondary option on the 08-09 and 09-10 Cavs.


Fifth year senior: Daniel Gibson’s shot at redemption.

Monday, September 20th, 2010

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…

1LUV,

BooBie

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.

There was once a time when Daniel Gibson was a large part of the Cavaliers' post-season gameplan.

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.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

Cavs sign Jawad Williams to one-year deal

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

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.