And, it’s here.
Our most risque entry yet by a fairly substantial margin.
I think it’s way more palatable than my “Hot Rod” Williams cartoon.
Picture by me @ CFAAP.com, colors by the inimitable Aron (AJS).
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.