Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Speaking of Larry Hughes....

First of all, he's hurt again (if you had 3 games in the pool, collect your money). Secondly, Gilbert Arenas commented on Larry in his blog (via Truehoop):

You paid Larry money because Larry did something well: he scored. You can't have a guy who averaged 22 points one year and then go somewhere new and not get the same average and then you bash him. No, if you want him to be what he was, you need to change the tempo of your game. Besides Ilgauskas, you have runners. You have a team that wants to run. A team like Cleveland can run up and down and still bog down on defense. Their leader is one of the top athletes in the world. When we used to play them they always had us down 20 in the first period because they just ran and you couldn't stop them on the break.

That's why I mentioned when LeBron first got there when he had Ricky Davis and Darius Miles, they were just flying up and down. I know Mike Brown came in and tweaked the defense and stuff like that, but if you want to utilize what Larry Hughes is, you need to open the floor and let them run more. With that team, your defense isn't going to go anywhere. But you want to bring the tempo up. You keep hearing his name in trade rumors and fans going, 'We want him out of here, he doesn't fit the system.' Well, sometimes you have to change the system for your players. I know a lot of coaches say the players need to fit their systems, but sometimes you have to tweak the system a little too. It's a 50-50 thing.
I'm not going to say that Gilbert doesn't have a point because, well... he does. The Cavs do play slower than the Wizards, so Hughes isn't going to get the same number of touches as he did in D.C. (Also, as I've argued numerous times here and on message boards, the Cavs gave Larry Hughes money because they couldn't give Ray Allen or Michael Redd money and they couldn't start the season with Ira Newble at shooting guard. Larry was the next best option and he was coming off a career year).

Would I like to see them run some more? Sure, in certain situations. You know what would help the running game? A point guard. (Also, I'm not convinced that Z slows the Cavs down that much. You want to run? Have Z throw outlet passes and let LeBron and co. push the ball. The Lakers ran with Kareen and he wasn't exactly nimble. But that's neither here nor there).

My problem with Hughes is his shot selection. If he's open for a jumper, I'm ok with it; but if he forces a jumper (especially early in the shot clock)... not so much. In the same vein, I wish he'd attack the hoop more, but then we start taking chances with his health (he's hit the 70 game mark just twice in his 10 year career).

I'm wondering how much longer Hughes stays in Cleveland. I can't imagine him playing out this contract in a Cavs uniform. The Cavs best offensive unit is Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron, Drew Gooden and Z. Each of those five guys can score. You have to defend the entire court. Teams can sag off of Hughes (or Snow or Varejao) to double LeBron because they don't think he can hit the jumper consistently and he can't finish in traffic at this stage of his career. Having Gibson and Pavs spread the floor can open things of for LeBron and Z in the post.

I'm all for the Cavs tweaking the offense (and lord knows it needs more than 'tweaking') but I'm not sure how much of it they should cater towards Hughes. The guy's a career 40% shooter (who's having trouble with his shot) who misses big chunks of the season. I don't exactly want this guy shooting the ball more.


graham said...

Hughes never should have got that contract, and its not his fault for being awarded that money. I can't really blame him. Regardless of the fact the Cavs couldn't get other players or had to make a splash, it was a bad signing by Ferry (it should also be mentioned Hughes had a history of injury since he was a frosh at St. Louis). That's simply not an excuse for a bad signing.

I think they probably should tailor the game to Hughes a bit, if it can be done without being a detriment the team (i.e, LeBron) as a whole. Brown's emphasis on defense has been great for the Cavs, but it clearly hinders there offense b/c of the lack of running, specifically because it neutralizes LeBron's unmatched athleticism.

My guess is Hughes will stay with the Cavs until his contract is up or expiring, or we take on an equally bad contract. His play simply isn't anywhere near what he makes, and I highly doubt any team would want him.

If Ferry can get rid of him for something that doesn't involve taking on someone like Jerome James, it would be a miracle. Cavs appear to be handcuffed with Hughes: His play and injury history clearly don't match the money he makes, and he's virtually untradeable (I know Windhorst says otherwise, but I still don't buy it.

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Erik said...

Suffice it to say that I don't think it's any coincidence that the Cavs were without Hughes, Snow and Marshall last night and they scored 108 points.

Those three absolutely kill this team at the offensive end. I'm almost kind of hoping that the injuries to Hughes and Marshall linger a bit, and maybe the Cavs will pull a Browns and start suddenly scoring in bunches.

Then maybe every person in Ohio except Mike Brown will realize that you need to teach the guys who can put the ball in the hoop how to play defense, not the other way around.

Right now, LeBron, Z, Drew, Sasha and Boobie are this team's best five (maybe their only five). They should be on the floor together early and often.