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