CLEVELAND: With Daniel Gibson likely sidelined for the rest of the season, the Cavaliers signed a guard Friday similar in his stature and style. Lester Hudson, signed to a 10-day contract, is an undersized, but explosive scorer.
He averaged 33.6 points this season in the Chinese Basketball Association, second in the league behind J.R. Smith’s 34.4 . He is also the only college player in Division I history to post a quadruple-double when he had 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals during his junior year at UT-Martin.
Hudson takes the roster spot of Ryan Hollins, who was released last week.
“He’s a scorer,” coach Byron Scott said, comparing Hudson to Gibson. “Offensively I know he can put it in the basket, which is something our second unit needs right now.”
The Cavs’ bench scoring has disappeared with the injury to Gibson, trade of Ramon Sessions and the promotions of Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson to starters.
Any sort of impact Hudson can make would be welcomed, but he first needs to be integrated into the system. Scott wanted Hudson to go through a full practice before using him in a game, but the Cavs won’t practice again until Monday. Although Scott didn’t foresee it happening, he played Hudson on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks and might use him again tonight at the Knicks.
Hudson played in just five games for the Austin Toros in the NBA Developmental League before the Cavs signed him. He played the entire season in China and initially went there because he thought the lockout would last longer.
“I think I had a great season over there,” Hudson said, adding his biggest shock was the culture and trying to find good food to eat. “I lost a couple pounds because I was eating nothing but chicken and rice or beef and rice. After a while I got used to it.”
Making them count
Thompson entered Friday’s game shooting 71 percent from the free-throw line in his past nine games. It might not sound like much, but Thompson was under 50 percent for the season before the recent hot streak.
Thompson and Scott agree a shift in footwork at the line has made the difference. Once he made a few, he had more confidence in his new stance.
“Me being an active forward, you get a lot of calls going for you and you get to the free-throw line a lot,” Thompson said. “This year I’m definitely shooting it better.”
Scott has been thrilled with Thompson’s overall improvement as the season has progressed and he’s expecting big things from him this summer and next season.
“This summer is a big summer for him because his improvement can be drastic or it can be slow. It depends on him,” Scott said. “But I think just him showing how much he has improved at the free-throw line shows he has the potential to improve in other areas. If he does that, we’re going to be thrilled to death next season.”
Anderson Varejao returned to the court to shoot around in a non-contact setting Friday morning as he continues to work his way back from a fractured wrist. Varejao is expected to rejoin practice within the next two weeks. … Gibson remains away seeking more opinions on how to approach the torn tendon in his left foot.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.