Tuesday, June 12

Welcome To My Life

The ball went up in the air and arched in a quick motion. The rotation was wrong and it was off angle, the shot was going to miss. He saw it, and was sure of it indeed. So he ran in transition towards the opposite side of the court as the ball clanked off the right side of the rim with two of his teammates controlling the entirety of the paint on that rebounding sequence. He ran as quick as he could to try and beat the defense towards the basket, but to no avail as he and his team were against opponents who were superior transition defense. It was fine, he accepted this, and ran to the right side corner of their side of the court to get in position. It was spacing, and he knew it very well after going through it for thousands of times in all his years in the league. As he turned his head towards his teammates, he noticed that the ball was coming towards him at immense speed. He was surprised, shocked even, as he was caught unaware, but caught it anyway. A defender ran towards him and covered him well enough to keep him from putting the ball on the floor. He saw a cutting teammate and threw the ball above the defender's head and towards his teammate's hands. Three defenders suddenly clamped down on his teammate as he was getting into the lane, and kicked it back out to another open teammate. The defense was disoriented as they scrambled to cover open assignments, and he knew that they had them at that play. It was going to be a good shot, and a made basket. Passes flew in swift rotation, and to his expectation, it landed right at his hands. A defender was sprinting towards him completely out-of-body-control, so he dribbled the ball and sidestepped towards his left, and drove straight into the lane. The lane was open, as the defense looked on. As he saw the basket's image grow bigger and bigger, he knew that he was getting nearer and nearer. He created some momentum, and in two powerful steps, he elevated from the ground towards the basket and carefully laid the basketball into the basket. He landed on both feet with his eyes still up in the air following the ball as it headed closer and closer towards the basket. It hit the front of the rim, then bounced towards the back of the rim, and rolled onto the left edge, before finally rolling out towards a leaping defender ready to grab the rebound. He could only watch in dismay, as he lay his head down in disappointment and could only curse under his breath while he clenched his fists. Time to run back on defense and repeat the process.

Welcome to the life of Larry Hughes. He tries so hard, but never gets it done. Hughes' play has deteriorated with each passing series during this year's playoffs, and it has caught quite a number of noticing eyes. From doing well in the first round against the futile-but-fighting Washington Wizards, and being decent for the first few games against the New Jersey Nets, before finally hitting a brick wall in terms of basketball performance. The emergence of Daniel "Boobie" Gibson hasn't helped Larry Hughes' situation at all. He has been getting less and less playing time in the favor of Daniel Gibson; all that he has left over Gibson is the spot in the starting five, something he should have lost quite a number of games ago but still has not as Mike Brown insists in keeping him on the floor to start games. Another thing that didn't help Larry Hughes at all, except for the fact that it is being used as an excuse for his dismal performance, is his foot injury. From someone who has been monitoring Larry Hughes game after game and awaiting his looks-like-it's-not-coming-break-out game, Larry Hughes has been dismal way before his injury. I can vouch for that. It is not his fault though, because he tries. He really does. He shoots and shoots and shoots, and the balls just keep bouncing and bouncing off the rim; sometimes it air-balls. One thing he is good at, and may be the reason why Mike Brown insists on keeping him on the floor, is that he is a decent defender on the guard position. He isn't up there with Raja Bell or Bruce Bowen, but he does have quick hands and can knock off some balls at times. Put in Tony Parker, a player that can totally out-run him any given day, along with a foot injury which keeps Hughes from going at full speed, and you have an offensively and defensively liable player. He becomes next to useless; save for letting James, Pavlovic, or Gibson get some rest, or during good days, he can rebound and dish a few baskets and score maybe more or less eight points. Not counting the tremendous amount of turnovers he contributes for the Cavaliers each and every game with his slowly diminishing minutes on the floor. His cons totally out-weigh his pros by a long shot. In other words, he is totally hurting the team when he is out there on the court. Larry, what happened to you?

If you want statistics, here are some statistics: Larry Hughes makes almost $10 million more than LeBron James does each year. Not only that, Hughes is clung onto the Cleveland wagon until his 7-year contract is done. So what can you do with an extremely expensive underachiever who will be stuck with you for the next five years? Nothing really. Which is why I would like to add to my past comment: Larry Hughes is totally hurting the team not only on the court, but financially as well. In the regular season, Larry Hughes was averaging 15 points per game, quite mediocre for someone who holds a max-contract and is supposed to be the perfect complement to LeBron James. In the first round of the playoffs, Larry averaged 19 points per game along with decent rebounding numbers. They matched-up against one of the worst teams in the league with their then-current line-up (without Butler nor Arenas) for four games, what would you expect? The next series was the start of Larry Hughes' fall-out. His scoring dropped by 6 points and his rebounding numbers were halved and turned the ball over almost 3 times per game, despite keeping the same number of minutes per game. Should I say it? I guess I should. Here's the highlight of that series: Larry Hughes shot 3/17 FGs in a loss to the New Jersey Nets. In the following series, the cracks in Larry Hughes' game became extremely evident, and Mike Brown had to sit Hughes down. Daniel Gibson emerged as a future-scorer, and Larry Hughes lost even more playing time. Now in the NBA Finals, Larry Hughes' minutes per game has been halved since the first round, and is averaging ONE point per game and shot a total 1/12 FGs for the first two games. Harsh.

With the emergence of Daniel Gibson, only time will tell how long Larry Hughes will be keeping his starting role for the Cavaliers. My guess for the duration is that it would be a very short wait. Will Larry Hughes be on his way out soon? Probably not, his value as a player has been hurt quite a lot this playoffs and his contract is too much of a burden. The only good managing decision Danny Ferry and his cronies have done is sticking with LeBron James, something a retard could even do with both hands and a leg tied behind his back blind-folded. What about signing Damon Jones? Not. The long-term contract hurt both Larry Hughes and the franchise. Well, it actually depends on the perspective really if you think about it. Larry got his money and security, he should be happy if that's all he cared about, but I don't believe that. Unless there is a team that will be sincerely interested in the utility of Larry Hughes, his future does not look bright as a player.

So what's next for Larry Hughes? Nobody knows.

1 comment:

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