Draft Express.com is reporting that Texas shooting guard Daniel Gibson will declare for the NBA draft as early as Tuesday. The Austin American Statesman reported the same thing earlier today. Draft Express paraphrases the dilemma outlined by BON here.
To paraphrase, Daniel Gibson came to Texas as a scoring point guard. He succeeded his freshman year even after the losses of Lamarcus Aldridge (to injury) and of PJ Tucker (to academics). He was asked to carry the team from his point guard position as a true freshman. This was a daunting task but one that was also a huge success. Gibson was named national freshman of the year by many publications and seemed destined for NBA stardom.
His sophomore year was nowhere near as successful. From the beginning of the season, Gibson struggled at the point. He was passive with the basketball, reluctant to drive, and unable to create easy buckets for his teammates. In a move that spurred the Horns' success, Coach Barnes moved Gibson to the shooting guard position and asked Kenton Paulino and AJ Abrams to run the team from the point. Gibson's play improved. He was excellent on the defensive end but remained only streaky on the offensive end. He was still reluctant to enter the paint playing as if disease or injury awaited him on his trip to the basket. Too often he stood flat footed behind the arc hoping to launch another prayer while staring at an open Aldridge or Tucker in the post. His three point percentage for the year was a respectable 38%. Gibson's overall field goal percentage was worst among starting players. Even through a change in position, a concussion, and being surrounded by more talented frontcourt teammates, Gibson had a good year. Daniel Gibson should return to Texas and continue to improve but it is unlikely that he will.
Now, he has a decision to make. At the beginning of the year, Gibson was a likely lottery pick. Now, he is projected as a second round selection at best. At only 6'2", Gibson is too short to play shooting guard in the NBA. For him to succeed as a pro, he must improve his point guard skills. Gibson must begin to love the lane (see Tony Parker). He must learn how to create for his teammates (see TJ Ford) and learn to distribute with either hand (see Steve Nash). Even playing point guard, his outside shooting must become more consistent. Unfortunately for him, there is little chance Gibson returns to Texas and plays point guard. Backup point guard AJ Abrams was better at running the team last season and is destined to improve his skill set including his strength and defense. Also, DJ Augustin arrives at Texas this fall and will challenge Abrams for minutes at the point. Augustin was also a scoring point guard in high school but is more prepared today to succeed as a point guard under Rick Barnes than Gibson was when he arrived on campus.
If he were to remain in the draft and not be selected in the first round, there will be no guaranteed money awaiting him. More likely a trip to the NBDL would be in store. Lucky for Gibson, Austin now has an NBDL franchise, the Austin Toros. The Toros have affiliations with the LA Clippers, SA Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Houston Rockers. If Gibson were to be drafted by any of these teams, he may not even need to move.
Daniel's dilemma is: 1) Return to Texas and play shooting guard or risk competing with a true freshman and a sophomore for minutes at the point or 2) Head to the NBA, take what money he can, and work on improving his point guard skills full time. BON is betting Gibson declares, remains in the draft, and plays in NBDL next season. BON wishes him well. The Horns may not have a returning starter next season.