Cavaliers shooting guard DeAndre Liggins has long been heralded as a scrappy, defensive stopper, but a recent stint in Cleveland’s rotation has pushed the 28-year-old journeyman into the spotlight. After winning the D-League Defensive Player of the Year award last season, Liggins has thrived with the defending champions, especially now that he’s seeing more time with the first unit.
“The biggest difference now,” Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue tells ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, “[Is that] he’s playing with the starters and now he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much. He doesn’t have to make plays. So now he can just do what he does, and that’s defend, maul people on defense.”
The wing, who models his game after fellow Chicago native Tony Allen played over 20 minutes three times last week while filling in for the injured J.R. Smith. Smith returned to the Cavaliers’ starting lineup on Saturday night, but it appears likely that Liggins will continue to see more action than he had been seeing prior to the opportunity.
You can read more of McMenamin’s in-depth discussion with Liggins – one that touches on his personal history and the domestic assault charges that nearly derailed his career – at ESPN. Here’s more from around the Central:
- Fred Hoiberg is uncertain when the Bulls will be able to welcome reserve point guard Michael Carter-Williams back to the lineup, says ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Asked if a return by the end of the month was possible, Hoiberg suggested that the team will have a better idea when the guard removes his soft cast. Out since October 31, Carter-Williams only switched into his soft cast last week.
- If the Bucks have decided to locate their recently announced D-League affiliate in nearby Racine, Wisconsin, official word hasn’t yet trickled over to the mayor of the city. As Patrick Leary reports for The Journal Times, the franchise has not made it clear whether or not it will occupy the forthcoming $46MM Racine Event Center and the delay has impacted the publication of a facility financing package. For a while now, the Bucks have been in the process of choosing a location for an affiliate, but the timetable been pushed back on multiple occasions. Other possible Wisconsin locations include Oshkosh and Sheboygan.
- Bucks veteran Jason Terry has impressed coaches and opponents around the league, says Chase Hughes of CSN. At 39 years and 85 days old, Terry is the third oldest player in the NBA. Recently Wizards head coach Scott Brooks cited the guard’s willingness to prepare every day and to maintain his body as the keys to his longevity.
- The Pacers have several options at the two down the stretch, but recently head coach Nate McMillan has shown a proclivity to role with 10-year veteran Rodney Stuckey instead of starter Monta Ellis. As Nate Taylor writes at the Indy Star, McMillan has played Stuckey with the rest of the starting unit in the final minutes of each of Indiana’s past three games. Taylor reports that it’s Stuckey’s ability to contribute on both ends of the floor that has earned him the extra playing time.