This time its a good one. Coming into Saturday night’s game with the Mavericks, Delonte West had appeared in 8 games this season, and in those games he wasn’t really all that productive. West had totaled 11 turnovers in 17 mpg of action, while averaging 4.2 points, 2.3 assists during those appearances. Against Dallas, Delonte didn’t turn it over at all, and was a huge spark off the bench while scoring 10 points, dishing out 10 assists, and grabbing 4 rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time. Put simply, if he keeps this up, the Cavaliers are going to be a very good team.
That said, the issue that arises – albeit a good one - for Mike Brown is minutes. Specifically, if more playing time is to come for West, they will be at the expense of Daniel Gibson, who hasn’t done all that much this season to ‘lose’ playing time. Daniel’s issues in season’s past have been his consistency; he’s shown up beyond huge at times, and at other times he hasn’t shown up at all. However, thus far this season, Boobie has demonstrated the ability to be a legit weapon off the bench, who can be counted on nightly.
Gibson is averaging 7 points in 21 minutes of action per game this season, however its his efficiency - behind the arc in particular - that’s been notably impressive. And by impressive, I mean he’s made just about half his three point attempts (28 of 60 for 47%). This mark is up from the 38% that Gibson shot from three point land last year. Also called into question coming into the season was Gibson’s play-making / ball handling ability, and while his assist total isn’t particularly high (18 assists) he isn’t turning it over all that much either (13 turns).
The key for both of these guys is to embrace the roles the Cavaliers need them to play this season. For now, Anthony Parker is the starter, and both West and Gibson will find their minutes off the bench. But if Delonte can play like he did last night, and Daniel can continue his consistent and confident play – when called upon - the Cavaliers will have that back-court depth off the bench some thought Stephen Jackson would be needed to provide.
statistical reference: cleveland.com