Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Larry Hughes as the 6th Man?

It's funny, I was having this exact conversation with my brother last night. Hughes looked pretty good against Charlotte (22 points), as he basically filled LeBron's role in the offense (facilitator, distributor and main ball handler, etc) while coming off the bench.

Which got me wondering, why can't he do that more often?

I like the offense a lot more with Sasha Pavlovic and Daniel Gibson starting, as they're better at the catch-and-shoot jumpers that LeBron (and sometimes Z) sets up. Larry just doesn't have the set jump shot, he's most effective when he's moving with the ball (and when he's on the court with LBJ, he's not going to have the ball that often).

If Larry can continue to play as he did in Charlotte (being aggressive and finishing inside), I would love to see him come off the bench permanently. I think if he's out there without LeBron, he'll get better shots and he won't have to settle for bad jumpers. Plus, he'll give Brown some flexibility, as he can sub for Gibson, Pavlovic or James.

From the PD:

Cavs coach Mike Brown seems to be at least interested in having Larry Hughes come off the bench.

Hughes, out since Nov. 14 with a deep bone bruise in his left leg, returned and played 26 minutes in Charlotte, leading the team with 22 points.

"I enjoyed having him come off the bench against Charlotte," Brown said. "I think he enjoyed that role, too. That's something we can always explore. He started for us for two years. He has started his whole career. But Larry's a guy who definitely wants to win.

"I feel if I spoke to him about it and he wanted to do it and I wanted to do it and it was best for the team, he'd keep coming off the bench if it was something that we feel good about."

Does the coach plan to use Hughes at point guard or shooting guard?

"He's got to still do both, because he's that talented and that versatile," Brown said. "He's terrific off the ball coming off screens. But he does have to play some point for us, too."

Obviously, this only would work if Larry accepts the role as 6th man. Sure, he gets paid like a starter (and an all-star) but a bench role might be best for the team and Larry. And having a highly paid 6th man isn't exactly breaking new ground, just look at San Antonio (Manu Ginobili) and Dallas (Jason Terry).

I'm not sure if this will happen, but I think the Cavs at least need to explore the scenario. Maybe I'm just desperate for any kind of change regarding Hughes, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Larry Hughes for 6th Man of the Year!

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