While the Cavaliers use the All-Star break to rest up (well most of them anyways) we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the season so far, and issue some grades. In addition, we will detail what the Cavaliers will need from each player in order to hoist some team hardware this summer. This afternoon we asked a special guest to give out a grade. Brendan from Stepien Rules was kind enough to give his evaluation of Daniel Gibson…
Going into this past offseason, the fact that Daniel Gibson was the best guard on the Cavs’ roster after Mo Williams and Delonte West was case-in-point as to why the Cavaliers needed to add depth to their back-court. Few people, including myself, thought that Daniel could be a reliable option off the bench on a consistent basis. And not that Daniel’s playing so well this season that he’s rendered the roster moves made at the position meaningless, but he has been playing well enough this season to say that the Cavaliers are currently as deep at the guard position from top to bottom as they’ve ever been in the LeBron James era.
While struggling to see the floor at times, Daniel has proved to be both a solid threat to score from the perimeter as well as a reliable back-up at the PG position when needed. To that point, he’s probably the best 3rd string PG in the NBA. And while that might not necessarily be something to throw on the resume, his accuracy from three-point range this season certainly is.
Boobie’s always shown the propensity to hit big shots throughout his Cavaliers’ career, though he’s never been as efficient from three point range as he’s been this season. He’s currently shooting 47.8% from three, and that mark’s not only up nearly 10% from his 3PFG% from a year ago (38.2%), but its also up over 5% from his career totals of 42.3%. Technically speaking, Gibson is listed as second on the NBA’s 3PFG% leaders list behind Mike Miller, although Miller’s only attempted (65) 3’s over a course of just 22 games. For all intents and purposes, Daniel’s leading the league in this category, and he’s making more three pointers per minutes played than any other player currently slotted in the top five for the category.
Daniel’s total of 3PM currently stands at 66, and he’s done that damage over 959 minutes of playing time. The next four guys behind Boobie on the 3PFG% leader board: Jared Dudley (46.9%), Anthony Morrow (45.2%), Paul Pierce (44.8%), and Anthony Parker (44.7%), have played in 1,284, 1,166, 1,527, 1,546 total minutes respectively and only made between 6 and 12 more threes than Gibson despite playing at least 207 more minutes. Of the top-5 in 3PFG%, the calculations of three-pointers made per minutes played are as follows:
Gibson: 959 minutes – 66 (3PM): (1) 3PM every 14.53 mins played
Morrow: 1166 minutes – 75 (3PM): (1) 3PM every 15.34 mins played
Dudely: 1284 minutes – 76 (3PM): (1) 3PM every 16.89 mins played
Pierce: 1527 minutes – 78 (3PM): (1) 3PM every 19.57 mins played
Parker: 1546 minutes – 72 (3PM): (1) 3PM every 21.47 mins played
As far as production from the PG position, he’s stepped into that role admirably over the last 10 games. More on that’s below, but as far as season totals are concerned, his assist to turnover ratio is currently checking in at a 2-1 mark, averaging 1.4 assists to 0.7 TO’s per night. In retrospect, maybe the talk of the injuries that Gibson’s played through over the last couple season had more of an impact than some thought.
Role on team
All that said, Gibson’s role on this team is as simple as this: be ready for whenever you’re number’s called, and it may not be called every night. Nine times this season he caught a DNP Coaches decision, and just prior to assuming the starting role with Mo and Delonte out in January, he registered five of those. Four other games this season he played less than 7 minutes and he is still a liability on defense. Maybe not as much of a liability as he’s been in years past, where he’s been awful, but he is still a liability nonetheless. In the last 10 games though, he’s averaged 34.4 minutes a night and scored in double figures 9 times. He’s averaging 12.1 ppg during that stretch along with 3 assists to every 1.7 turnover per night. That said, his role won’t remain as such once Mo and Delonte come back, and it’s even possible he could go back to racking up DNP’s once those two return despite his best season to date. What’s critical, though, is that he keeps his head up when that happens and doesn’t go Damon Jones over there on the sidelines. He has to continue to be an impact player however sparingly he may be used as the season progresses.
How can Daniel best help the Cavaliers to hoist hardware this summer?
Daniel has to continue to be a threat from the perimeter as the season progresses, and he has to make his eventual transition back to the bench with smile. His confidence has to stay up however much he plays, and if injuries insert him back into the line-up at some point he needs to build on what he’s done here over the last 10 games. What he can be for the duration of the season is a guy that could be called upon to break an opposing team’s momentum with a couple quick threes off the bench at some point in the game, or a guy that can jump-start a sluggish offense late in the second quarter when needed. If he can do that, it could be huge.
Part of me wanted to give Gibson a B, but I had to offer a B- based on the fact that it’s the highest grade I could see giving a guy that’s 9th or 10th on the depth chart when everybody’s healthy, who doesn’t involve defense as a staple of his game. He deserves all the praise he’s gotten of late on the offensive side of things, and he’s proved to be another weapon at the disposal of Mike Brown, where you couldn’t really accuse him of being that last season. All that earns him a B minus if you’re asking me, and I appreciate the WFNY crew for doing so, but I do reserve the right to offer extra credit in the future should he help the Cavaliers win an NBA title this season.
Thanks Brendan! Make sure you check out Stepien Rules today.