Well sports fans, the Cavs have played 41 games, which means it’s time for mid-season grades for Larry Hughes!
Games Played: Grade = D
Larry missed 34% of the first 41 games due to a bone bruise injury sustained in mid-November. When you’re making $12 million a season, missing fourteen games in the first half of the season is 14 too many.
Shooting Performance: Grade = F-minus
3PT FG: 28%
How bad has his shooting been? His 33% on field goals ranks him DEAD LAST out the 65 shooting guards in the NBA.
And his 3 point shooting percentage is even worse. Did you know that Manute Bol shot better on 3-pointers in his 92-93 season than what Larry is tossing up in 2007-2008? For those of you who are too young to remember, Manute had such an awkward shot that teammates and fans alike would laugh at the sight of him taking a three pointer. But Manute still shot better than Larry this season. Making this more unbelievable is that Manute had a birth defect that left his right hand with 3 clawed fingers. It’s true!
Some may ask ”what about his 86% FT shooting in the first half?” and I say… WHO CARES! He’s only averaging 1.6 FT attempts per game and he’s had ZERO free throw attempts in 17 out of the 27 games he’s played this season.
And for those Hughes fans that blame Mike Brown’s offense because it doesn’t suit Larry’s awesome ”slasher” capabilities, I present to you this stat: Larry is shooting 29-79 (36%) on shots within 2 feet of the basket. Wouldn’t the area right underneath the basket be the ultimate “slasher zone” for a slasher? Or is he a medium-range-slasher?
Player Efficiency Rating: Grade F
This is a nifty stat provided by ESPN’s John Hollinger. If you’re not familiar with PER, here’s a quick explanation:
The formula, which Hollinger calls the Player Efficiency Rating (PER), takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system. The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, you can compare subs with starters in frequent playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace. In the end, one number sums up the players’ accomplishments (the statistical ones, anyway) for that season.
So how does Larry Rank?
#60 out of 65 Shooting Guards in the NBA
#277 out of 297 players in the NBA.
The Intangibles: Grade = D+
Another stat that attempts to measure the intangibles is the “On Court vs Off Court Data” provided by 82Games.com. It’s a simple concept: it examines how a team plays with and without a player. It gives a pretty good sense of how well that player is fitting in with the roster and gets at all of the ‘little things’ that current statistics don’t track (setting screens, taking charges, drawing double teams, etc).
The Cavaliers score .5 fewer points on offense when Larry is in the game. And on defense they give up 2.1 more points, which means Larry scores -2.6 for this stat. Translation: the Cavs perform better with him OFF the court than with him on the court. (Note: his +/- was -5 before Wednesday’s blowout against the Wiz.) While some may consider this stat to be unfair because Larry hasn’t played in all the games this year, his 2007-2008 performance is actually better than his Plus/Minus from the 2006-2007 season.
Final Grade: D-minus
It’s no secret that Larry’s been struggling all season, but it’s shocking that his crappiness has been so consistent. Larry has failed to shoot better than 37% in consecutive games all season. He’s shot worse than 35% in 17 games and he’s shot below 50% in 22. If he’s a streaky shooter, this is the longest bad streak of his career.
So why not an F? Well, he’s got decent rebound stats, and we have a few commenters here that insist he’s a great defensive contributor to this team. (Mind you, this is not 2004 and he’s not playing for the Wizards.) And I’m sure they haven’t noticed the trend of Mike Brown benching our defensive wunderkind during 4th quarter crunchtime, but I’m sure that’s the right way to handle a player of Larry’s defensive prowess.
With numbers like these…
If Larry Hughes was still in high school, he would have been demoted to the JV team. If Larry was in college, they would have shipped him off to the intramural leagues. But Larry plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, so it only makes sense that he’s been promoted to be our starting point guard.