Daniel "Boobie" Gibson is something of a Cleveland legend. If you are a Cavaliers fan over the age of 21 or so, you probably remember where you were for Game 6 of the 2007 playoffs. LeBron James had gotten everyone's attention with a dominant Game 5 performance to pull the Cavs within a single game of eliminating the Detroit Pistons in what would be a shocking upset. Gibson, then a rookie taken in the second round, came off the bench and scored 31 points in 29 minutes. He attempted 15 free throws, making 12 and made all 5 three pointers he attempted, all while playing pretty good defense on the perimeter. He immediately became a fan favorite. I was a freshman at Ohio State at the time, and my roommate and best friend, a Pistons fan, threw something every time Gibson hit one of those three pointers. Beating that Pistons team, which by then had come to be so full of itself, felt good. Thanks, Boobie.
After a second season that saw him double his playing time and shoot a scorching 44% from three point range, Cleveland extended Gibson with a deal worth $21 million over 5 years. Originally thought of to be a steal by rival executives and fans alike, unfair expectations developed. It is hard to isolate a part of his game that has improved since his rookie season. He is a great shooter, can guard most point guards, can't guard shooting guards, can't handle the ball, can't pass the ball, and has been consistently asked to do all of those things. It isn't fair to him, it isn't fair to Cleveland fans, and it isn't fair to the people who share the court with him.
This season was perhaps the low point for him. I have written about why I thought the freedom given to Wayne Ellington and CJ Miles helped their games in former coach Byron Scott's offense. I could also write about how it wasn't a good fit for Gibson. Because of his weaknesses when it comes to distributing, Scott requiring guards to push the ball up the court to initiate the offense wasn't optimal. Gibson played 46 games out of 82 this year, usually missing time with aches and pains that stemmed from injuries that were hard to isolate. He shot 34% from the field, and 34% from the three point line. There is a place in the league for undersized 2-guards who can defend point guards and shoot 3's. If they can't shoot from distance, though, it's all over. In the last two seasons, Gibson has played a total of 81 games. His Player Efficiency Rating over that time is 8.5, and his true shooting is at 48%. These numbers, I don't have to tell you, are terrible.
It is hard not to be romantic about Gibson. "We will always have Game 6" is a common sentiment. That game alone probably added $10 million dollars onto the contract Cleveland offered him. With Mike Brown coming back, the coach with whom he had the most success, perhaps a rejuvenation of Gibson's career would be possible. At this point, though, a clean break is probably best. I really doubt there is a team out there who would be willing to give him a multi-year deal at this point, but I am sure he will catch on somewhere. I am just ready for it to be with someone else. If he finds a way to stay healthy and regains his three point shooting form, he could be a fit with a team who either has a shooting guard who likes the ball in his hands or a big point guard. In a different life I wouldn't mind seeing Gibson play off Dion Waiters a little bit.
I am ready to let Daniel Gibson walk. What say you, commenariat?