The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

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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11 Responses to “That’s it!”

  1. Erik said

    Are you sure you want Gibson starting ahead of Hughes? Are you sure you want Gibson defending Chauncey Billups?

    It’s frustrating to watch Hughes miss a wide-open seven-footer with the game on the line, I’ll give you that. But I don’t think the answer is to give the lion’s share of minutes to a rail-thin rookie and charge him with stopping Billups.

    The Cavs simply don’t have a good option at the point right now. That needs to be rectified this summer. For the time being, the Hughes-at-the-point setup has worked well enough to get the Cavs to the conference finals.

    I’m not saying you aren’t justified in chastising Hughes for missing a gimme-shot. $13 million per should buy a team more than that. But I don’t think you want Gibson out there ahead of Hughes. Not against the Pistons.

  2. Yes, I’m sure. Frankly, it does not matter who starts between Gibson and Snow; I’d just assume give the nod to Gibson considering how well he played yesterday. Snow can defend as well as Hughes, I think, if he has to defend Billups.

    I’d say the team has gotten this far not because of the Hughes-at-point setup but in spite of it.

  3. Erik said

    Then why did the Cavs start to play better when Brown went with the Hughes/Pavlovic backcourt? “Better” being a relative term with regard to the offense, I realize.

    Regardless of who is playing the point, the Cavs are winning because of their defense and in spite of their offense.

  4. Erik said

    Or should I say, *were* winning prior to facing the Pistons.

  5. No, you are right Erik. I’m apt to attribute the sudden increase in winning to Pavlovic figuring out how to play, although Hughes did show signs of improvement.

    I agree that our defense is carrying us. Since I see Hughes and Snow as being about even on defense, I’d like to see more of Snow since I think Snow is more consistent (Hughes can be great, but then he can turn the ball over twice in two consecutive possessions).

  6. Erik said

    Does anyone else think Dan Gilbert is having wet dreams about signing Chauncey Billups away from the Pistons? As much as Gilbert is an admirer of The Piston Way, I think he looks at Billups as the golden egg.

    Joe Dumars knows the future of the Pistons hinges on keeping Billups much like the future of the Cavs hinges on keeping LeBron, so I don’t think it would happen.

    But flush with a boost in gate revenue and a possible willingness to go over the luxury tax threshold, I could see Gilbert prodding Danny Ferry to make a play for Billups in free agency this summer.

  7. Matt said

    The larry hughes signing and his subsequent failure as a ball player makes him the worst offseason move possibly in cleveland sports history. Not only could we desperatly use his contract space to find a point gaurd & insidescoring, but he has a i-dont-give-a-shit look on his face all the time and missing the game winning shot in the ecf was a tipping point. he obviously doesnt understand the concept of winning because he could have easily got to the rim instead of throwing up some fadaway garbage ass shot

  8. I can’t possibly see the Cavs signing Billups. They just don’t have the money. The front office has to consider what to do with Andy and Pavlovic first, and even then the team would have to rid itself of Hughes–no small feat.

  9. Haze said

    I still don’t understand why Hughes won’t just go for a damn layup. The Cavs barely got to the line all of game 1, why does he even bother shooting? Its like Z taking a 3-pointer: just something to keep the defender off guard(?). This series is not over, I think a tandem of Gibson and Snow might work but that hinges on the play of Sasha. If it doesn’t gell early then you have to go with waht got you to this spot in the playoffs to begin with.

  10. Erik said

    “The larry hughes signing and his subsequent failure as a ball player makes him the worst offseason move possibly in cleveland sports history.”

    So signing Larry Hughes was worse than drafting Mike Junkin? Or Dajuan Wagner? Or trading Brian Giles for Ricardo Rincon?

    I know everyone loves to hate Larry, and he’s Public Enemy No. 1 right now, but come on. Perspective, people. To call his signing “The worst offseason move in Cleveland sports history” is voting him ahead of a lot of really bad moves, some performed by Jim Paxson and Butch Davis, who are the Wonder Twins of bad roster management as far as I am concerned.

    While Hughes sure as heck isn’t worth what the Cavs are paying him, he’s at least contributed some positive things in the second half of this season.

  11. Haze said

    Yeah, worst signing ever? What about Blackjack McDowell? Smiley?

    I still think we can win. We were in the same situation last year, but at least Hughes is healthy and here.

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