- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2004

There is no worse sight on Fun Street than Larry Hughes in the open floor.

Hughes sees the floor like a carriage-pulling horse with blinders.

He sees nothing but the tiny space in front of his feet.

Hughes is not too good in math, either.

He can’t count past one and he can’t see the traffic in front of him, which is an awful combination for a guard.

Hughes has refined the habit of turning a 3-on-1 fastbreak opportunity into a player-control foul. It could be argued he is becoming more frenetic with age.

The hearts in the stands often beat faster as soon as Hughes gathers momentum on a foray to the basket.

“Uh-oh,” is the collective cry, followed by a whistle, a groan and a march in the opposite direction.

There is no subtlety on a Hughes-inspired trek to nowhere. There is only a misguided urgency to barrel into a body and hoist the ball toward the basket in an awkward fashion.

The suspicion persists that if it were just Hughes and an open basket, he would feel compelled to drag an innocent spectator onto the court in order to have someone accept the charge.

Hughes picked the wrong game to have an obsession with physical contact. Basketball, at its best, is a game steeped in nuance and pacing. Those who play at only breakneck speed are sentenced to be less than what they could be.

Hughes, in his sixth NBA season, is not unlike Wile E. Coyote. He works himself into a lather, only to be unaware of the boulder that is hurtling toward his body.

Hughes ought to play the game in a crash helmet, with the Red Cross symbol stenciled to his jersey.

He drives to the basket, bodies go to the floor, and the referees put down roadside flares before sifting through the wreckage.

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