View Full Version : Eddie Johnson on how Cleveland screwed up signing Hughes

07-12-2005, 08:00 PM

Hughes not the right guy
by Eddie Johnson / July 12, 2005

<table align="right" border="3" bordercolor="#cccccc" cellspacing="0" width="120"> <tbody><tr> <td bgcolor="#cccccc" width="190">http://www.hoopshype.com/eddie_johnson.jpg</td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#cccccc" width="190">

http://www.hoopshype.com/black.jpg Played 17 years in the NBA for the Kings, Suns, SuperSonics, Hornets, Pacers, Nuggets and Rockets.http://www.hoopshype.com/black.jpg Won the 1988-89 NBA Sixth Man Award averaging 21.5 ppg.
http://www.hoopshype.com/black.jpg NBA all-time leading scorer among players with no All-Star appearances.
http://www.hoopshype.com/black.jpg He is in his fifth year as the color analyst for the Phoenix Suns broadcasts.
http://www.hoopshype.com/black.jpg You can visit his website at www.jumpshotclub.com (http://www.jumpshotclub.com/)

</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> The Cleveland Cavaliers (http://www.hoopshype.com/Library/teams/cleveland.htm) went shopping with a stack of cash and the soon-to-be best player in the NBA in LeBron James (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/lebron_james.htm). The Cavs knew the appeal of James and the money could help them land one of the top free agents available most notably Ray Allen (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/ray_allen.htm) and Michael Redd (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/michael_redd.htm).

But it was just like the guy who goes in the bar and puts his sights on the girl who everybody thinks is gorgeous only to waste his time chasing her and then finally giving up so late that the love of his life walked right pass him all night going unnoticed. So out of desperation, when his chances seem slim, he settles for the one that didn't look so attractive until he had a few drinks.

Sounds a little far-fetched, huh? Not really.

Joe Johnson (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/joe_johnson.htm) was the best player available to pair with LeBron James not Allen, Redd or Larry Hughes, the player they eventually signed. The Cavs did the right thing chasing Allen first because he was unrestricted and Johnson is not. But after Allen chose to stay in Seattle (http://www.hoopshype.com/Library/teams/seattle.htm), they should have done everything possible to get Johnson and not chase Redd then settle on Hughes, who will struggle in Cleveland having to play a lot without the ball.

Here's why:

Johnson is as versatile as LeBron only without the jumping ability. He can catch and shoot from anywhere on the floor. He has the ability to create shots for himself and teammates in the paint because he has the best ballhandling skills of any 6-7 player in the league other than James. Besides, he can defend four positions.

Johnson's numbers are just as good as the stats of the other top three free-agent shooting guards and he is not concerned about being the man, which would have allowed him to become a good match for LeBron.

I compare LeBron to Magic Johnson. He does not need players who command the ball, but guys that can finish and flourish playing with him.

Magic had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Byron Scott (http://www.hoopshype.com/coaches/byron_scott.htm). Jabbar was great, but at the tail end of his career Worthy and Scott were excellent players whose games were enhanced because they received the ball from Magic in their scoring zones and shot high percentages.

Allen and Redd would have worked to a degree, but I wondered about those two playing Robin to LeBron's Batman. I am sure that weighed into their decision to stay put.

Signing Hughes was a total stretch. First of all, he is not a consistent shooter. He shot a dismal 37 percent from the field and 21 percent from behind the arc in the playoffs. Most importantly, he has not shown that he can play without the ball for long stretches and still be productive.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy Hughes' game, but only when he is wheeling and dealing and being himself. I think he will struggle to find his niche with the Cavaliers.

Here is my directive to Danny Ferry (http://www.hoopshype.com/general_managers/danny_ferry.htm):

- Sign players who fit with LeBron and do not command the ball.

- Re-sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/zydrunas_ilgauskas.htm) and continue to develop Drew Gooden (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/drew_gooden.htm).

- Find players that are not household names but can look great paired with a player like LeBron, who creates a double-team anywhere on the floor. Eddie House (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/eddie_house.htm), Jon Barry (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/jon_barry.htm), Donyell Marshall (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/donyell_marshall.htm) or Juan Dixon (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/juan_dixon.htm) could help. These players won't sound off many alarms, but can flourish in Cleveland and cost little to your bottom line.

- Two players you missed out on already have been snatched up. Raja Bell (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/raja_bell.htm) and Bobby Simmons (http://www.hoopshype.com/players/bobby_simmons.htm) would have been ideal to play with King James. Those two could have been had for the same money you gave Hughes.

Eddie Johnson is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

07-12-2005, 08:04 PM
I'm already on the record as saying they should have gone with Simmons. While Johnson may be the better fit, Phoenix was never gonna let him go. Paying less for Simmons would mean they'd have the money to go after a Haslem or Daniels, and they could just forget the whole Saras thing.

I do like the idea of Marshall, but I don't think Mike would like his defensive prowess, or lack thereof.

07-12-2005, 08:08 PM
Yeah, Simmons would have been the better fit, but Hughes isn't terrible. He's a lot better than whoever they had alongside LeBron last year (can't remember his name).

07-12-2005, 11:46 PM
So Hughes can't play without the ball? Right because we all know that he never had to share it with Arenas and Jamison. I think this is a load of bull. Hughes will work just fine with LeBron.

07-12-2005, 11:55 PM
So Hughes can't play without the ball? Right because we all know that he never had to share it with Arenas and Jamison. I think this is a load of bull. Hughes will work just fine with LeBron.

I completely agree.

Hughes would have likely made the all-star team this year if it weren't for that injury near the break. The fact is, the guy knows how to score. Pair him up with another slasher like Lebron, and you have 2 guys who can easily break down defenses and go to the line for easy buckets. Not to mention, the two of them are very versatile players - they will make a nice duo. To top things off, he's no scrub on defense either.

I think Mike Brown is a very good coach, who could provide the perfect offensive framework for these 2 guys to co-exist. Defensively, I don't know what to expect...but both Lebron and Hughes can play on both ends of the court.

To say I'm worried about Cleveland would be an understatement.

07-12-2005, 11:57 PM
Yeah, Simmons would have been the better fit, but Hughes isn't terrible. He's a lot better than whoever they had alongside LeBron last year (can't remember his name).

His name would be Ira Newble...........

Just another reason why the Larry Hughes signing is so important. Look at how Lebron makes players around him better. We are talking about IRA NEWBLE here...and Lebron had him playing some decent ball out there. Let's see how much easier the game becomes for Larry when he's paired up with Lebron.

07-13-2005, 06:50 AM
I think it was a mistake to give Hughes that kind of cash, not neccessarily because he's not worth it, but because it's too much to pay for a 2nd banana that doesn't cure your major weakness from the year before. We've seen a team that can penetrate and post up, but has no outside shooting. That would be your 2002 Indiana Pacers. Defenses pack it in, and you're done. This is why they wanted Allen or Redd. They're still short a lights-out long range shooter, and are now hamstrung financially.

07-13-2005, 10:53 AM
Once they sign Jaskeviscious, they will improve their 3 point shooting.

If Hughes can co-exist with arenas, he can co-exist with LBJ. IMO, Hughes will be just fine in cleveland. He's a top notch defender and he doesn't need the ball in his hands for that. He is still relatively young so while they likely overpaid for him, he will be productive throughout the life of the contract. The only issue is likely his injury history.

Will Galen
07-13-2005, 01:35 PM
I think this is a load of bull. Hughes will work just fine with LeBron.

A load of bull?

I think he made a good point.

Johnson isn't saying Hughes can't work with LaBron, he said Hughes wasn't the right guy to pair with LaBron. And he said why, Quote; "He does not need players who command the ball, but guys that can finish and flourish playing with him."

Have you ever put a puzzle together and found a piece that is the right shape and will fit in the hole, but doesn't go there? That's what Johnson is saying. Sure Hughes will be able to play with LaBron, but there were and are better options.

07-13-2005, 02:13 PM
The only thing that stuck out in the article to me was his comment about the type of player that the Cavs should get.....which IMHO...is a philosophy that I wish the Pacers should follow.

To paraphrase:

- Get players that fit the Pacers style of play....but do not command the ball.
- Find non-household names that can flourish in the Pacers offense but won't cost the Pacers the bottom.

Because the Pacers are stocked with Players that need to dominate the ball to be effective ( like JONeal and SJax ), players that are able to contribute to the game while not dominating the ball are needed IMHO. That's why I don't mind if Tinsley or Artest doesn't score 15 to 20 pts a game.....they are able to contribute to the game by doing something else on the court....such as running the offense or providing solid defense.

Marshall isn't a household name and its great that there are players like Swift, SAR and Brown that are drawing attention from GMs. All the more opportunity for the Pacers to get a player like Marshall. He may not be the greatest cup of tea out there for some....but he would be a significant upgrade over Croshere. He can be effective cuz he doesn't need to score in order to be effective as a backup PF....he will rebound....block a few shots and be a good player that will play close to the paint.

If Bird thinks that we need to get another PF.....offer the Raptors something before they are given a S&T offer that the Pacers can easily match.

07-13-2005, 02:17 PM
I don't think he made a good point at all. He's saying Joe johnson would be abetter fit. Maybe so, but his main argument that Hughes is not a good fit is that he doesn't play well without the ball, which is bull. Hughes has never been the go to guy on any team he has played on. How do you flourish despite this unless you CAN play without the ball?