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Cavs Cavs Archive Daniel Gibson Impressive Thus Far For Cavs
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
Upon being drafted in the second round by the Cavs, few gave Daniel Gibson much of a chance to see any meaningful PT this season. However, Gibson is turning some heads in training camp, and along with fellow rook Shannon Brown, making a serious push to get some floor time behind starters Eric Snow and Larry Hughes. In my latest, I take a look at a kid that many Cavs fans don't know much about. A kid that could be the heir apparent to Eric Snow at the point.  The talk of training camp so far for the Cavaliers has been the impressive play of rookie guards Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson.  While working their way into coach Mike Brown's rotation may not be a realistic notion early on, it's clear that the pair is beginning to push Damon Jones and David Wesley for the playing time available behind starters Eric Snow and Larry Hughes.

Many people, myself included, felt that Brown's game would transition well to the next level, and that it was only a matter of time before he found himself playing key minutes off the bench.  Gibson was written off as a guy that would likely be inactive for most contests in '06-'07, and be developed throughout the course of the year in practice to help contribute the following season.

That still may be the fate for Gibson this season, but the young guard is certainly turning some heads so far.  Eric Snow has taken it upon himself to tutor Gibson, and
had some nice things to say about him in The Plain Dealer over the course of the last couple days, saying ... 

"I like his willingness to learn and ask questions.  The talent is there. His work ethic and his willingness to learn means it's only a matter of time before he gets better. It's extremely tough for a young guy to play this position but Daniel's been doing a good job so far."

Fellow rook Shannon Brown also praised Gibson
in today's PD, calling Gibson the quickest player on the roster, and telling talentless hack Branson Wright ...

"I am not only surprised at the way he shoots the ball, but I expected him to get rattled, and he hasn't. He is smooth. He has been a pleasant surprise."

Wright also reported that Gibson has been taking home DVD's of each day's practice home with him each night to critique and review.  This should surprise no one familiar with Gibson, who is a coaches son with an incredible work ethic.  Gibson is on the quiet side, and was a good student at Texas before leaving after his sophomore season.  He's not a night crawler, and has been chronicling his boring (by NBA player standards) life
on the blog he's keeping on the Cavs official website.

This solid work ethic is one of the things that had Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers brass enamored with Gibson heading into this springs draft.  Despite not being selected until the 42nd pick of the 2nd round, the Cavs are on the record as saying they would have taken Gibson with their 25th selection in the 1st round had Shannon Brown been off the board.  The team then gave him a two year guaranteed contract, which is virtually unheard of for second round picks to recieve.

Gibson also potentially brings several things to the table that this Cavaliers team lacks, most notably quickness and the ability to stroke it from the outside.  Gibson set a University of Texas record last season by draining 175 three pointers, and nailing them at a 38% clip.  He has a great first step, and the ability to break his man down at the top of the key, traits non-existent in the repertoires of Eric Snow and Damon Jones.  He also has superb lateral quickness, a long wingspan, and takes great pride in his perimeter defense.  Gibson constantly drew the task of guarding the opponents most explosive backcourt player while at UT, and defended at a very high level for the Longhorns.

Solid kid.  Good shooter.  Plays defense. Quick as a waterbug.  Then why the hell was this kid available in the middle of the second round?

The answer is simple.  Many people question whether or not Gibson can make the transition to point guard at the NBA level.  And despite the contract given to Damon Jones last year, there's not much of a market for 6'2 shooting guards in the NBA.  Whether or not Gibson can make this transition will determine his NBA fate.

After being named Big Ten freshman of the year in 2004-2005 at UT, Gibson was hailed by most as a surefire lottery pick.  However, Gibson struggled as a sophomore for the Longhorns,
being used more as an off guard than a point guard as the season wore on. His points per game slipped from 14.2 to 13.4, and he shot a lower percentage from the field, line, and three point range than he did in his freshman year.  Gibson is rough around the edges, and there are many out there that feel he will never make it as a NBA player despite great natural talent. He’s often been dubbed as a “shooting guard in a point guards body” and will have to really work on his ball handling and distribution skills to make it as a NBA point guard.

The Cavs feel that Gibson is a very naturally talented kid, and at age 20, still has the ability to make this transition.  They like the fact that he has veterans in Eric Snow and David Wesley to lean on, and with the glut of guards the team has ... can afford to wait a full year on Gibson if needbe.  I can't say I disagree with their stance here, and was personally elated that a kid with this much upside was still available at #42.

Coach Brown is on the record as having no "rookie bias" like many of his NBA coaching bretheren.  The best players will play, plain and simple.  And Daniel Gibson may just work his way into coach Brown's rotation alot sooner than most people think.

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