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I lump these two together because they're both undersized scoring guards that peaked in their first seasons and never reached the potential they displayed as rookies. When Dajuan Wagner was drafted sixth overall by the Cavaliers in 2002, he was described as "Allen Iverson with muscles;" a talented guard that could create his own shot and score at will. During his rookie season, he demonstrated the ability to get to the basket virtually whenever he wanted. Although his shooting ability was suspect, his 13.4 points per game as a rookie were a sign that he had all the tools to be a prolific scorer in the NBA. Subsequent seasons saw Wagner afflicted with a variety of illnesses and injuries, including ulcerative colitis, and he was out of the NBA by 2005. After having his colon removed, he had a brief and unsuccessful stint in 2006 with the Golden State Warriors.
Had Wagner's career not been derailed by injuries and ailments, he may have developed into a potent scorer in the mold of Monta Ellis. Of course, he may have never improved his jump shot and ended up more like Ramon Sessions. We'll never know. Current stars like Caron Butler, Nene and Amare Stoudemire were all drafted within the four picks following Wagner. All three of them would have improved the Cavaliers more than Wagner did.
Daniel Gibson was a similar case who totally disappointed the Cavaliers for different reasons. While Dajuan Wagner's body failed him and derailed the potential he showed as a rookie, Gibson was simply fool's gold. Gibson came out of nowhere in the 2007 playoffs against Detroit, famously scoring 31 points (still his career high) and hitting five of five behind the three point line in the series-clinching game 6. His heroics in that game helped send the Cavaliers to their first Finals appearance in history. His 31 points were the most scored by a rookie in a series-clinching playoff game since Magic Johnson scored 42 in the 1980 NBA Finals. The diminutive Gibson even added 6 rebounds. In case you believe he was simply a one-game wonder, the rookie also scored 21 points in game 4 on only six shots. Although they were eventually swept in the Finals, the Cavaliers had clearly found their point guard of the future. The outlook was bright in Cleveland.
Since his rookie campaign, Gibson's career has been uneven at best. He played well in his 2nd season, but since then he has started a grand total of 25 games for the Cavaliers. He has never come close to making the impact he made as a rookie in the playoffs, despite numerous chances to do so. He has still not developed a mid-range game or the ability to drive to the basket. Gibson has demonstrated only one above-average basketball skill and that is three-point shooting. Since his solid sophomore season, however, he has only managed to shoot a paltry 30% on threes in 19 playoff games. "Boobie" Gibson has simply been unable to recapture the magic he displayed as a rookie. In James' last season as a Cavalier, Gibson was relegated to the third point guard role by Coach Mike Brown.
The Cavaliers eventually traded for Mo Williams, a superior point guard on every level. Unfortunately, while Gibson has had one great playoff performance, Williams to date has had none. If Daniel Gibson had ever lived up to his rookie season, the Williams trade would have been unnecessary.
It is impossible to say whether the Cavaliers and James would have won a championship if any of these situations had played out. Carlos Boozer has never demonstrated himself to be a great defender or playoff performer, and we'll probably never know if Ray Allen, Michael Redd or Joe Johnson could be the 2nd scoring option on a championship squad. Would Amare Stoudemire have been enough to boost the Cavs when LeBron struggled against Boston? Could Dajuan Wagner or Daniel Gibson have been significant starters on a championship team?
Like the prayers of Cleveland sports fans, these questions remain unanswered.