“I didn’t like him because he was on the Pacers,” Gibson said flatly. “Then he was on Milwaukee. Every game was a rivalry game with lots of chippiness.”
Now that Dunleavy is on the same side, Gibson’s take on the 11-year veteran has changed.
“He takes hard fouls on guys,” Gibson said. “I love that about him. He’s not afraid.”
Gibson’s opinion of Dunleavy the person had been formed positively by an anecdote Gibson hilariously shared earlier this season. A high school-aged Gibson ran into Dunleavy riding the New York subway alone at night. Gibson said Dunleavy, already in the NBA, gave him a head nod.
“You don’t really see NBA players on the train, especially at night,” Gibson said in early January. “That’s how gangster he was.”
Indeed, Dunleavy is one of those players people may not appreciate fully until they see him on a nightly basis. Far sounder defensively then advertised and more athletic than given credit for, Dunleavy is more than a shooter. He masters intangibles like post entry passes and screening. He rebounds well for his position. And, as Kings’ resident goofball DeMarcus Cousins can attest, Dunleavy isn’t afraid to mix it up.
”Yeah, I do,” Dunleavy answered, when asked if he believes he has the type of game that can fit any system. “I’m pretty fundamentally sound.”