As anyone with even a fleeting interest in the Cavs already knows, Daniel Gibson wrested the starting PG job away from Eric Snow last night. Eric Snow had been slowly walking the ball up the court for the Cavs for over 180 straight games as a starter. That streak has finally come to the halting end everyone has hoped for for a long, long time. (1) According to Brian Windhorst, “no matter the short-term results, Gibson will remain as the starter for the foreseeable future,” so good luck to Eric Snow in his effort to re-start his streak, although not really. The decision to keep Gibson as the starting point guard — at least for the foreseeable future — no matter his play is not much of a surprise. After all, Mike Brown is still the coach and Mike Brown is nothing if not deliberate. (2) He is the Eric Wedge of Cleveland basketball.
Gibson responded to his newly-found role as NBA starter in admirable form, dropping in four three-pointers (on five attempts) for 12 points on 4-7 shooting, with three boards and two assists (and two turnovers) in 25 minutes. Eric Snow still managed to make his presence felt. He logged 16 minutes, more than he had logged in each of the past two games, both of which he started. This curious tid-bit aside, and despite Snow’s increased minutes, the Cavs managed to drop 124 points on the Golden State Warriors, which is a fairly outrageous total considering that LBJ was on the bench sporting a fashionable suit and giggling like a school girl for most of the game. Sasha Pavolivic played extremely well in his place, however, and for the moment the Cavs sans LBJ look a lot better than the Cavs with LBJ.
So the Cavs finally found an up-tempo offense, and Eric Snow has finally found the bench. Both encouraging shifts from where the Cavs were, oh, just a few days ago, really. Of course, if Gibson does turn into something approximating a servicable point guard, then the clamor for Snow to be traded will increase. Ignoring for the moment that NO TEAM will take on Snow’s entire contract, Gibson’s recent promotion raises an interesting question concerning Snow’s possible future. Is a benched Eric Snow a more tradable Eric Snow?
On one hand moving from starter to a backup is a resounding marker of what the team thinks of Snow, amplified to a degree by the fact that Gibson is an inexperienced rookie who arguably didn’t even run his team while at UT. Now he’s an NBA starter. It’s going to be difficult for GMs not to read Snow’s benching as a sign of Snow’s abilities rather than as a sign of Gibson’s.
On the other hand, benching Snow masks his inefffectiveness and might (one hopes) allow him to come in during situations in which his particular skill set — versatile defender, good “walk the ball up the court” strut, few turnovers to assists — will be maximized, thus creating the appearance that Snow is more able than he actually is.
Either way, it’s a new dawn in Cleveland.
1: Roughly 180 games
2: And by deliberate I mean, roughly: aggressively obstinate.