Joe Smith or Drew Gooden? Branson Wright Gets It Wrong.

In the long journey to the bottom of the PD Food Chain, Branson Wright has said a lot of things that I have scratched my head at, but today’s piece may take the cake. For those who don’t remember, Wright was the Cavaliers beat writer who was demoted when the PD scored perhaps the best young local beat guy in Brian Windhorst. So where did this leave the man I refer to as Branson “Wrong?” He now does a daily online column called Starting Blocks, where he gives his opinions from time to time, as well as a daily Internet link roundup of all things Cleveland Sports related.

On to today’s piece. Wright talks about the differences in buyout-mates Joe Smith and Drew Gooden, ex-Cavaliers who could fit the bill for the extra big man slot that Cavs fans have talked about for so long. Though it looks like Smith is the going to be the guy once he clears waivers Wednesday, Branson thinks Gooden is the better fit. He cites the following reasons why:

Gooden, bought out by the Sacramento Kings, would give the Cavs something they haven’t had all season — a low-post scorer. Gooden also is a better rebounder than Smith. Unlike Smith, Gooden has the athleticism to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard. Gooden may not have Smith’s veteran fortitude, but his other attributes could be enough to help the Cavs advance to the NBA Finals.

He may have a point, but he failed to mention a few major factors working against the former Kansas star –

1. His defensive lapses are legendary in this city, and we all know by now, if you don’t guard anyone, you don’t play for Mike Brown. That is precisely why two seasons ago during the Cavaliers run to the NBA FInals, Drew was seemingly always on the bench late in close fourth quarter games in favor of Anderson Varejao.

2. As Scott mentioned over the weekend, there is no love lost between Lebron James and Gooden, who is a well known good friend of Lebron-hater Deshawn Stevenson. (FYI – Gooden and Stevenson’s friendship links back to Stevenson’s recruitment at Kansas, where he signed to play when Gooden was a Sophomore there, he later went back on his letter of intent and turned pro). Put it this way, if Lebron doesn’t want him on the team, he isn’t coming here.

3. Most importantly….GOODEN IS INJURED! As Branson fails to point out, Drew has missed 15 of the last 16 games with a nagging groin injury, which has lingered all season. He missed eight games between December 20th and January 3rd with that same groin strain. Branson buddy, how does that make him a better fit for the Cavaliers when they already have one big man down with a broken leg? Don’t they need someone who is completely healthy and ready to play right now, not in say, a week? What if he tweaks it again, which can happen very easily with groin injuries? Then what?

Genius stuff!!!!

Just my $.02 for the day….Now resume your regularly scheduled programming.

  • Mark

    I just posted this in the other thread about Ben, it might more applicable here since Branson is suggesting picking up Drew…

    People are forgetting the most obvious benefit that singing Joe Smith would bring: he is the anti-KG. A huge problem for the Cavs in years past (and this year) has been a 4 or 5 who has length and agility (enough) and can challenge the Sheed-KG type forwards who like to sit in pick-n-pop situations and hit from the outside. The sheed-KG breed can also play the occasional post and throw a line drive in over a defender because there is the threat they pull a quick spin around you and you have to stay low in the defensive stance. This keeps you from contesting that shot which both of them shoot from way above their heads.

    When Boston doesn’t have that offensive outlet, their offense can really suffer, provided you have a strong, athletic presence on Pierce (check).

    Drew would get eaten alive in the past because he did not have the length to contest and when he would anticipate the turn and fade, they would spin right around him. Andy has the quickness to move with KG but not the length to bother his jumper. Z has the length but obviously not the quickness. Joe is aging, but is quick enough to keep up with a tender-knee KG, and has a very long wing-span that will allow him to bother 3-4 jumpers a game. We all know how KG-just-past-the-elbow jumpers can be a dagger late in fourth quarters. Don’t be surprised to see Joe Smith to be out on that floor with either Andy or Z late in fourths if we manage to get Boston in the playoffs (hopefully in the East finals!).

  • Alex

    i mostly read Branson’s posts just to read the comments underneath about how everyone hates him… it’s absolutely amazing sometimes

  • kingdiesel

    I enjoy his hard hitting interviews on with Austin Carr and Keith Dambrot. Who is next? Nancy Lieberman? Ed Werder has nothin on B-Dubs!

  • Humboldt

    Not that it matters, but does anyone know why the relationship between Gooden and LBJ is so strained?

  • TD

    Per Windhorst in November:

    For the most part, LeBron James liked Drew Gooden when he was a member of the Cavaliers.

    However, he wasn’t exactly thrilled when Gooden passed along some private conversations to Washington Wizard DeShawn Stevenson, a friend, after Gooden was traded to Chicago last season. It kicked off a high-profile feud between James and Stevenson during last spring’s playoffs.

  • Humboldt

    thanks TD. The brother of a friend of mine took his girlfriend out to dinner in Akron during the Cavs Finals run 2 years ago and sat near Lebron and some of his friends. He said that LBJ kept talking about how Gooden was constantly out of position and called him a liability.

    Interesting to know about this association w/ Stevenson – I wonder what sensitive information was passed from friend to friend.

    Anyhow, thanks for the follow up

  • zoss


    My best guess to why Lebron hates drew is based on gooden’s lack of intelligence (to put it nicely). There were several occasions where lebron would tell gooden something and seconds later gooden would do the opposite (ex. drew contesting a 3-pointer when we are up 4 with no time left). Also as stated above, gooden and stevenson are close and we all know how lbj feels about that scrub.

  • TD

    FYI – Roy Williams used to refer to Gooden as the “most maddening player Ive ever coached” when he was at Kansas.

  • Drew Badden

    I used to be a fan of Gooden and Damon Jones, but their absence and the way everyone on the team “got it” meaning Mike Brown’s defensive system pretty much showed Drew and Damon didn’t get it. Bring on Joe Smith!

  • Josh

    yeah, everyone hates Branson…honestly, i just don’t get how he still has a job?? he posts links on (half of them are articles ON

    and makes random statements in between them…just seems like a waste!?

  • S-Dub

    In these economic times, doesn’t the PD need to cut unnecessary expenses? They should start with Branson’s useless position…

  • Josh

    I am a fan of Drew Gooden. I think Branson makes some good points in this article. We need a low post scorer. Also, everyone is acting like Drew would play 45 minutes a game for us. If we were to sign him he would be our 3rd, maybe 4th big. Only requiring 20 or so minutes a game. He wouldn’t need to play big minutes in the 4th quarter unless he is playing lights out.

    It was different when he was our starting 4, and not playing in the fourth quarter. Now he would just be another role player.

    I personally say, cut Lorenzen Wright and sign both players, but thats just me. I’m really fine either way Danny Ferry goes with this.

  • Horace

    LOL…awesome post. I read Branson’s idiotic blog just for the comments underneath…

    “Branson, you suck” or “Branson, how do you still have a job” etc…

  • d

    e. snow was a commentator on an NBA-TV game earlier this year (Bulls vs. 76ers), and he interviewed gooden after the game. snow was trying to compliment gooden, but it came out all wrong — i specifically remember him saying “‘d. good’ has the reputation of being uncoachable, one of those players no one can coach” and tried to cover it up by saying “he works hard, though” or something.

    it was hilarious. i love e snow.