The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for May 24th, 2007

That’s it!

Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 May 2007

I’m about to list all of the qualities Larry Hughes brings to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ready? Here we go.

1) Slightly above average defense.

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8 ) Pretty tattoos.

9)

10)

That’s it.

What more proof do you need?

In only one season in his entire career has Hughes ever been within three-point distance of being a good basketball player. That was the year before he signed with the Cavs. That was also — wait for it — his contract year! He scored more points than he ever had and the front office panicked after losing out on Allen and Redd. When you put two and two together you get a $60 million noose around the team’s neck. I used to be bothered by Hughes’s bloated contract.

No longer.

Now I’m bothered by his sheer inability to play basketball well. I’m not talking about playing basketball like a $60 million superstar should, or playing great basketball, or even good basketball. I’m talking about playing basketball at a standard that warrants more than 20 minutes a game and a spot on the floor in the final seconds.

You know what would make me happy? A back court of Gibson and Pavlovic, with Snow coming off the bench. What does Hughes offer that Snow doesn’t? Both are good on defense and terrible on offense. Both can defend multiple positions (and Snow is more versatile than Hughes, being able to defend PG-SF). Neither can shoot well. We all need to wake up and realize that they are practically the same player.

But there are two key differences, and those differences tip the balance to Snow.

First, Snow doesn’t turn the ball over as often as Hughes. I’m not talking about bad passes and other typical turnovers — both are plagued roughly the same in this regard. I am talking about your piss-poor shots that have a 14% chance of going in that Hughes just loves to take (especially early in the shot clock). As far as I’m concerned those shots are just as detrimental to winning as a bad entry pass. (NB: Per 40 minutes Hughes averages more turnovers than Snow)

Second, Snow actually generates assists. Per 40 minutes, Snow averages 6.9 assists. Hughes? 3.9. It is incredible that Hughes can play with one of the most dominant scorers in the NBA and still only record three assists in game 2 of the ECF. You know who else had three assists in game 2? Drew Gooden. In 16 minutes. Daniel Gibson had three assists, too. Took him all of 19 minutes. Hughes played 38 minutes, in case you were wondering. (The Gooden-Gibson combo also only had two turnovers, or the same number as Hughes)

So what has prompted this bit of outrage? Larry Hughes missing a WIDE OPEN six-foot jumper as time was expiring. The shot was telling. Not only did Hughes miss it (No surprise there — he actually cannot shoot. Just look at the numbers. I’m not just being ornery here. I am not making things up. The guy can’t shoot. It’s as simple as that) but Hughes also didn’t try to bank it in. In that situation the backboard should have been his best friend. If he knew how to shoot he would have tried to bank it. But he didn’t. The clank of the ball colliding with the iron is still reverberating across the Erie coastline.

Hughes’s line: 4 points. 3 assists. 2 turnovers. 1 loss.

Yes, you can pin that loss entirely on Hughes. He played terribly bad basketball.

2-9 shooting? 3 rebounds? 38 minutes?!?

Why was Hughes on the court at the end of the game? The Cavs needed to score. Hughes is not a good scorer.

OK, so you can pin some of the blame on Mike Brown as well.

My favorite moment was right after Hughes missed. The camera cut to Daniel Gibson and Damon Jones. Both are better shooters than Hughes. Both were on the bench.

Mike Brown would get taken to the cleaners if he had Eric Snow on the court in the final seconds of a game with the Cavs trailing by one and with possession of the ball. It’s about time to wake up to the fact that Hughes is a marginally better shooter than Snow.

No more ranting and raving.

Hughes sucks. Play Gibson. Bring Snow off the bench. If both of those guys get in foul trouble or are in desperate need of a break, then bring in Hughes.

I am 87% serious.

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Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, statistics | 11 Comments »