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Larry Hughes is not the wing you're looking for, Boston. Move along, move along.

Aug 26, 2010, 11:26 AM EDT

At this point in free agency, there’s a general understanding that teams take what they can get. They go for value, look for lower tier talent, and aim for bargains to fill out the roster while keeping an ear to the ground for trades. The whirlwind is behind us, and generally all that remains is the rubble not swept up by the gusts.

According to Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe, the Celtics are examining both of the remaining avenues laid before them in their search for another wing player. Benbow notes that Rudy Fernandez is on the C’s wish list, just as he’s coveted by every other sensible team in the Eastern Conference. Nothing particularly news-worthy there.

But the Boston alternative, should Fernandez not shake himself free from the Blazers? Larry Hughes. The man who has somehow dodged unemployment like the plague, despite the fact that he’s a 31 year-old jumpshooter who could never shoot.

The Celtics have made a number of notable acquisitions this summer, and have done well to supplement their pre-existing core through free agency (Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal) and the draft (Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody). They retained Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and head coach Doc Rivers. Now they could add Larry Hughes to that mix for who knows what reason, other than the fact that he’s one of the bigger names among the remaining free agents, and happens to fill a desired position.

Hughes isn’t even a former star drifting quietly into the night. He was good, but far from great, at his peak. He’s always been plagued by poor shot selection and a few too many turnovers, and though he was once a decent enough defender, saying he’s maintained that level of defensive effectiveness would be a hell of a stretch.

What would Hughes’ purpose on the Celtics even be? To score? He shot 35.5% from the field last season. To space the floor? He’s a career 31% shooter from three. To set up the offense? I’d be more comfortable with Nate Robinson or rookie Avery Bradley running the show. Why NBA teams continue to offer Hughes employment is beyond me, and an elite club like the Celtics would seem to have no business even returning his agent’s calls.

Boston can do better, even if better is leaving the roster as-is. Rudy Fernandez is well-worth the trouble and the roster spot, but if it comes down to Hughes or some roster flexibility, the Celtics would be wise to keep their options open. 

  1. Brandan - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Don’t forget Rivers’s ability to make players understand and accept their roles. I am sure he can do something out of Larry Hughes, Rudy Fernandez is a good player who gets the job done, I’m sure he would like to play for the Celtics the next 2 years before leaving the NBA to go back to Spain, still Hughes can do something if he (with Rivers help) manage to reinvent himself and become useful. If he can’t they just have to keep jim in the bench, but I would love Hughes to get a job.

  2. hoyt - Aug 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    larry hughes? wasn’t he in a music video when he firs came into the league….brande maybe…..? well either way that’s all i really remember about his career so far!!!!

  3. ummokay - Aug 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Let’s completely ignore that fact that he played very well last season in limited minuted with the Bobcats. And look, they ended up making the playoffs. In the games he got to start, he really played well, and the entire team looked better as a whole.
    Too bad they decided not to play him at all in the playoffs, they might have advanced further.

  4. Hughes Huge - Aug 27, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Rob,
    Do you guys really read the stats on a player before you write? Or take selective bad ones and build your column. Hughes has started over 500 plus games out of 700 in a dozen years. The average NBA player does not make it to 4 years in the league. The reason he plays is that he is a great defensive player. His turnovers are lower than Rondo, his defense is strong as ever, and was even within the top five in the NBA when played a month with New York starting last year in December. Taking one last season with a broken hand and the wrath of D’Antoni (which left nobody wanting to play in New York), is not a very good reflection of a 12 year career in the league. Yes, he is 180 and your going to get injuries, but he comes back and plays hard on the court. Plenty of speed left to cover the passing lanes. Now, everyone’s stats are going down in Cleveland when they play with Lebron, just as you will see happen in Miami, but maybe he won’t bring the ball down court every play. But when Hughes played out of position at the point for Cleveland, they went to the finals and won the east (playing 70 games). Lebron has never been back since and the team improved every position?
    Hughes played the point (actually from the side) for New York last December and they had the best December in almost thirty years. Hughes and David Lee had a pick and roll that was fantastic. Remember, you getting someone that is 6 ft 5 inches, can play the point, the 2 guard and even small forward. Never has he been a three point shooter, do you see that that dropped somewhere in the dozen years? Even his best stats at Washington when he averaged 22 pts per game he was only 28% from the arc and lead the league in steals, but he can slash to the board and handle the ball fantastic. I take some selective stats and build a little story, like you have, but the fact is, Hughes is a “defensive specialist”, always given the toughest assignments (Lebron, Kobe, etc.) and lowering their scoring and will also get you two plus steals per game taking points off the other teams board. Fans don’t watch defense much, Hughes is a solid defensive player. He manages the clock well, plays the floor extremely well and is a bargain at what he would earn now coming off the bench. Finally I will just quote Larry Brown who said Hughes was outstanding and still a fantastic player that never got enough time last year to get his game to 100%. There is an opinion that has some weight.

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