When Larry Hughes got hurt, colleague Tom Fornelli did his fair share of rejoicing, as did we. That wasn't to laugh at Larry, or to rub dirt in his wounds. We merely intended to state, in an obvious way, how much better the Bulls are when Hughes isn't available to play basketball.
That sounds mean, harsh. We know. But it's just true. Hughes' incredible proclivity to shoot the ball, even when most normal, cognitively functioning adults would recognize those shots as ill-advised, hurts the Bulls. It would hurt any team. (There's a reason a Cavs fan started a site called Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots. Best url ever.) It's even worse for a team so reliant on guard play, movement, and jump shooting.
Now, the stars have aligned, and the basketball gods have punished us for reveling in Hughes' injury. Larry is ready to return to the Bulls, just in time to replace the injured Kirk Hinrich's minutes at off-guard. Yay.
Whenever Hughes does return, it's possible, if not likely, Vinny Del Negro will move him into the starting lineup alongside Derrick Rose, a pairing the Bulls' coach employed late in the preseason. Asked about playing with the 6-foot-5-inch Hughes, Rose meant the following as a compliment, even if it did nothing to dispel Hughes' reputation as a high-volume shooter.
"He's not scared to take that shot," Rose said. "That's Larry. No matter what, I don't need to remind him to shoot. He's willing to shoot any time."
Even when people are being polite -- and Derrick Rose is probably the most polite kid on Earth -- the topic of Hughes' shooting still comes up. If I was Ben Gordon, I would commence banging my head against a very large brick wall.