Rookies excelling in Vegas

Cavaliers’ 2006 draft picks Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson are playing summer ball in Las Vegas and are getting rave reviews thus far. Terry Pluto gathered quotes from several NBA league sources on their progress.

General Manager Danny Ferry said: “I watched him play full-court defense one game, and he did it with a smile. He really got after his man. It was great to see.” Cavs coach Mike Brown praised the coaching his top rookie received from Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Cavs coaches were especially impressed with how Brown handled the pick-and-roll, a major part of the Cavs’ offense. That play was rarely used at Michigan State.

Rick Kamla had this to say on nba.com: “Brown had a dunk where he was literally looking into the basket before he brought the house down. His hops are off the charts, and his arms dangle all the way down to his knees. Good luck making a clean pass against the Cavaliers this season, with the athleticism and length of perimeter players like LeBron James, Larry Hughes and Brown.”

A 6-2 guard from Texas, Gibson averaged nine points in 31 minutes, shooting 54 percent from the field. In college, nearly 70 percent of his shots were 3-pointers, but he took only four in Vegas. That’s a positive, because he’s more effective if he looks for medium-range shots and doesn’t just stand on the 3-point line. His defense was considered above average.

The Cavs compare Gibson to a player such as Lindsey Hunter or B.J. Armstrong, a small guard with good shooting range and a pesky defender.

Both should provide solid perimeter defense and will improve the Cavaliers’ outside shooting. Brown and Gibson were nearly 40% shooters from beyond the arc in college and the Cavs seem to feel that the combination of the two should help alleviate the loss of Flip Murray. Murray was a good defender and could drive the lane, but his outside shooting was suspect. The Cavaliers needed help in that area from the backcourt and that was one reason why they chose to draft Brown and Gibson.

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