Writer's Note: This is Part 5 of a 15-part series where I review the 2010-11 season of each of the Cavaliers players. Each player will titled with one of this summer's movies for a little added fun. I couldn't think of any better order to do this so I'm going alphabetically. Today: Daniel Gibson; Up Next: Joey Graham
Imagine for a moment that the Cleveland Cavaliers team is a band of super-heroes (crazy, I know, considering their record last year... but just go with me). Each player possess a unique super power (skill) but the team as a whole works together for a common cause, much like the X-Men.
Who on the Cavs would hold the distinction of being from the "First Class"?
There are really only two guys... Anderson Varejao and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson.
Today we're going to focus on Boobie... Andy's time will come.
Not every player on the Cavs has a distinct super power, or unique skill. But, it's not too hard to figure out what Boobie brings to the table.
Boobie is one of the best pure-shooting guards in the league, hitting at .403 percentage from three on the season and .418 for his career. He has made a name and reputation for himself in the NBA as a dead-eye shooter.
Having players who can spread the floor and are reliable knock-down shooters from deep is a huge asset in the league today. Just look at the Mavericks and Heat in the Finals. Dallas won in large part because they shot .411 from three, while Miami only shot .346.
The Cavs as a team were abysmal from range this past season, finishing 23rd in the league at .342. Boobie is one of the only players on the team right now that has this skill. Only Baron Davis shot it better during his limited time in Cleveland at .414.
But my research revealed a lot more than just that Boobie is very good shooter... especially since we all knew that already.
What I found was very interesting and actually a little shocking.
According to 82games.com, Boobie was the third most effective player on the Cavs this past season. And of all the players who represented more than 25 percent of the team's minutes, he was first (only Davis and Varejao were ranked higher).
I was floored by this revelation. Not that I thought Boobie was a poor player, I really like him and think he's a very good player. But I wasn't expecting to see him ranked quite so high. I figured guys such as Antawn Jamison (fourth), J.J. Hickson (ninth), and Ramon Sessions (fifth) would have been higher.
82games.com composes their rankings based on a system that combines both on court production (similar to John Hollinger's PER rating) and a player's +/- when on/off the court. (You can check out the Cavs team rankings here.)
It is certainly not a perfect ranking system (so tough to do with basketball rotations being what they are), but it is revealing nonetheless.
His season stats don't blow anybody away (I seem to find myself saying this about every Cavs player): 27.8 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.0 APG. But,Gibson was a part of an overwhelming majority of the most effective five-man units last season, a very telling fact.
What it tells me is that while Boobie is not one of the best or most skilled players on the Cavs, he is one of the most effective.
The question is, "Why?"
There a couple reason that I think this is.
First, is what I mentioned earlier about his ability to spread the floor with his shooting threat. Teams can't leave him alone to go help for fear that he'll beat them with a three.
Boobie was an excellent complement on the court to both Sessions and Davis last season. Both of those players like to attack the paint and either get to the rim (Sessions) or pull up for a short jumper (Davis). By just being on the court, Boobie allows those guys to do what they do best.
And with the probable addition of Kyrie Irving, another PG who likes to attack off the dribble, it could be very beneficial next year as well.
(The impending log jam at the point guard position will need to be addressed before the season starts. It will be interesting to see what moves Christ Grant makes this offseason.)
Second is Boobie's ability to play both guard positions. Many see this as a weakness (not being a true PG or SG), but it can also be an asset.
We all know how beneficial it was to have a multi-talented combo-guard in Delonte West on the team for the past couple seasons. Gibson could be that type of player going forward, coming off the bench and filling the role needed at any time.
Third, is his willingness to be and do whatever is best for the team. This is a vastly underrated quality in a player.
It can be a detriment for a young player who is unwilling to accept a support role for the first time in his life, or for an aging star who doesn't know when he's not the man anymore (think Allen Iverson).
Boobie accepts that there are limitations to his game. He knows that he isn't 6'6". He knows that he isn't a 20 or 25 point per game scorer. And he accepts that. He knows his role on the team and fills it to the best of his ability.
He might not be a lock-down defender but that doesn't stop him from giving 100 percent on every defensive stand (Cough!RamonSessionsThroatClear).
Fourth, and most importantly in my opinion, is his leadership and character. You can't talk about this enough when it comes to Boobie.
Sitting court side at an NBA game is very revealing about who the leaders are on a team. When Gibson and Sessions were on the court together, Boobie was the unquestioned leader.
He huddled the team together in dead ball situations. He made floor adjustments on offense. He called out defensive rotations on defense. He called out players who were dogging it. Even when he was the bench, he was still being a vocal leader.
You cannot under-sell the value of leadership to a team.
Even a very skilled team like the X-Men needs leaders such as Professor X, Wolverine, and Cyclops.
(For the record... Cyclops, who is actually a pretty good comparison to Boobie with the distance shooting ability, got a super raw deal with the X-Men movie franchise. Them made him whiny and annoying, not to mention killing him off-screen five minutes into the third movie. I'll never forgive them for that.)
But leadership is best when it's coupled together with upstanding character. Boobie's faith and devotion to God speak volumes in the way he carries himself as a player and a person. If you don't follow him on Twitter, you should (@BooBysWorld1... but be aware, he tweets a lot). The way he weaves Scripture passages, inspirational messages, and 2Pac quotes always brightens my day.
Cavs fans are also very appreciative of the fact that he has stood up boldly for the city of Cleveland, the team, and the fans multiple times over the past year.
In case you can't tell, Daniel Gibson is my favorite player on the Cavs right now (I still have my "Shoot, Boobie, Shoot" T-shirt from the 2007 Finals). It's not because he's a big star or makes big flashy plays.
It's because he has embraced the city of Cleveland and embodies on the court the character and aspects of the people in the stands. His hard work, character, and leadership mean more to the city and the team than all those dagger threes.
You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack