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Wednesday October 3, 2007 12:00 pm

Larry Hughes, Meet Mark Price

Larry HughesThere is no doubting that Larry Hughes’ career as a fantasy impact player reached it’s peak in 2004-05 during his final season on the Washington Wizards.  You can also point back to 2000-01 when Hughes put up 22.7 points per game on the Golden State Warriors, but the increase in all other stats including steals (league leading 2.9/game) and rebounds during the ‘04 season takest the proverbial cake.

Since heading to Cleveland, Hughes hasn’t exactly lived in the spotlight by playing along side LeBron James.  Brought to the Cavaliers to be the Pippen to LeBron’s Jordan, Hughes has barely kept his field goal percentage above 40%, his scoring has decreased year-over-year, and his free throw shooting has reached a career low.

The last team that needs this former 79.7% free throw shooter fluttering below 68% is the Cavaliers, so this offseason has brought one of the greatest free throw shooters in the history of the game in to Hughes’ life: Mark Price

Price has been hired by the Memphis Grizzlies to be their shooting coach, but Hughes had the chance to spend a week with the Retired #25 in attempt to hone his shooting.

The same shooting that saw Hughes convert 15 of his final 51during the Cavaliers’ playoff run, before being shut down with yet another injury.

‘‘There were some minor things he had to tweak,’’ Hughes said of Price.

Minor?  Hopefully that’s all they were as Hughes has slowly slid down the ranks as a fantasy factor.  Far from the days of 2.9 steals a game, Hughes has been given a different role on the Cavaliers and those that draft him are hoping that his experience as a point guard last season will only help him improve this year.  The Cavaliers former starting point guard in Eric Snow is reported to miss near six weeks with an injury sustained in training camp, so this is Hughes’ job to lose.

Hughes’ current draft position appears to be well into the hundreds with the NBA.com Experts taking him 128th overall, and an experts draft at Mock Draft Central snagging him a bit later at 133.  Much of this slide is based on his poor production last season coupled with his injury risk.  Add in the emergence of second-year guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, and Hughes could be on the verge of replacement.  However, in standard leagues, Hughes may represent solid value with scoring in the ‘teens, over a steal per game, and the chance to dish the ball to one of the premier players in the league. 

If your league does not count turnovers, Hughes’ Ast/TO ratio of 1.7 will not hurt you as much.  He has multi-position eligibility, which increases his value opposed to a standard “SG” tag, and this inclusion of Mark Price can only help.  Right? 

Fact of the matter is that you’ll be looking at a guy who will be under the radar in plenty of leagues has a solid chance to bounce back from last season’s dismal numbers.  Don’t buy high, but if the Price is right, pun definitely intended, pull the trigger. 

Respect Vanishes Before First Tip [Akron Beacon-Journal]

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