Posts tagged larry hughes

Cavs Land PG Mo Williams

I was cruising WFNY today and the place has caught fire with excited Cavs fans talking about this three-team deal that brings Milwaukee Bucks PG Mo Williams to the Cavaliers. I am a bit more cautiously optimistic than flat out excited by this news.

On the surface, it looks like a great fit, because Williams is known as a point guard who can make his own scoring opportunities. All Cavs fans know that the team needs more offensive options than what LeBron and Zydrunas Ilgauskas provide. So, with that, it should be a promising outlook as of today. Except, I want to be more cautious.

In 2005, the Cavs needed a player to play opposite LeBron James, so instead of trading, they went out and found a player with a Hollinger PER rating of 21.63. This is a statistical combination used to measure a player’s production per minute of floor time. This player had 22 points per game and almost 5 assists per game to go along with just over 6 rebounds per game. And his name was Larry Hughes.

Just to put it all in perspective, Mo Williams’ PER is 17.06 currently.

Now, I am sorry if it seems like I am trying to be a downer. I am not. I hope Mo Williams turns out to be exactly what the Cavs need in terms of getting to the next level. I think combined with Delonte West (should he return,) Wally Szczerbiak (should he not be traded,) and Daniel Gibson, the Cavs have a pretty good rotation of players ready to play in the back court in the upcoming season.

The plusses are that Williams is still a younger player at 25 years old. He just finished the first year of a 6-year $51.5 million deal that is a relative bargain compared to the amount of money that the Cavs paid Larry Hughes. Also, the Cavs unloaded dead weight in Damon Jones, and an aging veteran in Joe Smith, so they didn’t really lose a ton to pick up Williams.

So, anyway, I am excited at the prospect. I think it is a good calculated risk on Danny Ferry’s part. Then again, I thought Larry Hughes was a good calculated risk when the Cavs signed him in 2005. Let’s just hope it works and that the Cavs won’t sit idly by with Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract for too long. It is the largest expiring-contract bargaining chip in Danny Ferry’s arsenal, and I hope he uses it wisely.

Update:  The Cavs have emailed their fanbase about the trade.


“Acquiring Mo strengthens our nucleus of players for both the short and long term. He is entering his prime NBA years and will be part of the foundation of our future success,” Ferry said. “Mo is a player that excels as a traditional point guard, but also brings an extra dimension with his scoring and versatility. His ability to push the tempo, get inside the lane, shoot from the perimeter and distribute the ball will be very valuable for us.”

LeBron Goes Back to Back Triple Doubles

Not since Magic Johnson (yeah the guy who owns the movie theaters) did it in the 1987-88 NBA season, has anyone had two sets of back-to-back triple double nights in an NBA season.   LeBron finished with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists last night against the Indiana Pacers in a victory.  On top of that, it was a road game after a home game in back-to-back nights of basketball.  LeBron’s line in Houston the prior night was 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.  Unfortunately for the Cavs, the first of the two games was a sloppy, sloppy loss to Houston at home.

Regardless, I think it is safe to say who is the clubhouse leader for league MVP at this point.  LeBron leads the league in scoring and has led the biggest group of also-rans the NBA has seen in a long time to relative greatness.  The Cavs are holding on to the fifth playoff spot in the east despite a host of holdouts and injuries.  Add to that some serious trade rumors and it hasn’t been an easy road for the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

Last night’s victory over the Pacers didn’t come without a price.  Another Cleveland player went down with injury.  This time Daniel Gibson had his legs chopped while Travis Diener was going for a loose ball in the third quarter.  At the time, Gibson was 5-8 from the field (5-5 from three point land) with 15 points in only 19 minutes of work.  The good news is that x-rays were negative, so hopefully Gibson won’t be out too long.

So, the Cavs are now in a position where the trade deadline has passed.  No more help is coming.  They will have to treat each player returning from injury like an acquisition as they try to find a cohesive, healthy team to finish their run to the playoffs to try and defend their Eastern Conference title.  It won’t be easy.  In fact, it won’t even be probable.  But then again, it wasn’t probable last year when the Cavs went out and beat the Pistons either.

Hughes Loses His Mind (For a Night)

Was this what the Cavs thought they were getting when they committed about $13 million per season to Larry Hughes? If so, it doesn’t explain Larry Hughes’ inability to perform at least half as well as he did last night with consistency. In beating the Orlando Magic last night in Orlando, Hughes caught fire for 40 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He shot 12-19 from the field including 4-5 from three point range. He had Cavaliers color commentator (and resident homer*) Austin Carr using a falsetto on the television broadcast to draw his last name out for more than 5 seconds, kind of like “Heeeeyoooooooooooooooze!”

And Hughes’ performance was needed for the Cavs to beat the Orlando Magic 118 to 111. LeBron made his presence felt again in the fourth quarter by scoring eight straight points for the Cavs when they needed to at least trade baskets with Orlando. But the game isn’t really the story. The way it looked to the people who watch the Cavs night in and night out is the story.

This game looked totally different than most. Because Larry Hughes brought that level of unconscious scoring, LeBron was able to drive to the hole. Instead of having constant double teams, or in some cases having an entire team’s five defenders cheating toward LeBron’s side of the court, they had to play him with only single and double coverage. This enabled LeBron to use his best attribute, speed, around the corner and explode to the basket. It enabled those eight straight points in the fourth and very well could be the overall reason that the Cavs were able to beat the Magic last night.

Even more amazing is that this was the second night of a back to back – an away game after a home game no less. Don’t get me wrong here. It isn’t time to start printing tickets to the finals or anything. Hell, it isn’t even time to start those Larry Hughes trade rumors. It was just one night. Knowing the Cavs’ (and Larry Hughes’) luck so far, it probably won’t ever happen again. But still, it is nice to dream Cavs fans, isn’t it? Dream of a two headed, or even one and a half headed monster?

*Austin Carr may be a complete homer for the Cavs, but he knows it and he doesn’t hide it. It is a well known fact that he started welling up and crying when the Cavs got the number one pick in the draft to get LeBron James.

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