Giving out grades: Daniel Gibson

July 19th, 2011 by John Krolik

The biggest win in the history of the LeBron era will forever be known as “The Daniel Gibson game.” It’s easy to forget just how desperately the Cavs needed shooters once upon a time, and just how much of a blessing Boobie’s three-point stroke was when he worked his way into the rotation late in the Conference Championship season.

For the first few years of his career, that’s what Boobie was — a good, mobile shooter who was deadly accurate from three-point range, was quick enough to get into his spots when LeBron was improvising in the lane, and was never afraid of the big moment. Every off-season, people expected Boobie to develop his passing skills or his game inside of the three-point arc, but it never really happened — in fact, when Boobie did try and incorporate a floater into his game to become more of a complete scorer, it was an unmitigated disaster.

Of course, while the team fell completely to pieces last year, Boobie quietly had a breakout couple of months to begin the season. After an off year in 2009-10, Boobie looked great at the beginning of the season. Not only was he making his threes, but the lightbulb actually seemed to come on for him as a playmaker and he wasn’t horrible when he put the ball on the floor — unsurprisingly, Boobie crushed his career-highs in both FTAs and assists per game last season. On top of that, Gibson has always been a much better defensive player than Mo Williams, and the gap between him, Williams, and Sessions defensively was fairly easy to notice. Boobie, who was once a pure three-point specialist, was all of a sudden looking like a very poor man’s Chauncey Billups.

Then Boobie got hurt (and, like Anthony Parker, wasn’t rescued by a contender at the trade deadline), and his numbers fell off a cliff. Such is life in the NBA.

Boobie, like Ramon Sessions, puts the Cavs in something of a bind. If he can re-gain his early-season form, he’d be the perfect point guard or backup point for a team that doesn’t really revolve around its point guard. The Cavs’ two best players are point guards, Boobie’s contract is too big to get a good asset in return for him, and Boobie is too good to simply dump for the sake of dumping. It doesn’t look like Boobie will still be with the team when his contract runs out, but I have no real idea how the Cavs are going to manage to move him. If nothing else, Boobie, thanks for the memories. Oh, and feel free to discuss whether or not Boobie should have gotten a lot of Mo Williams’ minutes in the 2008-09 or 2009-10 playoffs.

2010-11 Grade: C Plus

Outlook for next season: Try to trade him, but to who?