I really like J.J. Hickson. In a few years, I think he could be the Cavs main big after Z retires and Varejao moves on to whichever team vastly overpays him.
Hickson scored a lot of points and grabbed a lot of boards in the summer league, raising a lot of hopes that he could contribute this season. And I think he will, though I’d guess those contributions will come later in the season, once he learns how to play NBA defense (and the Cavs go a few games without Z and/or Wallace).
So far (judging by Daniel Gibson and Shannon Brown), it takes Mike Brown awhile to trust his rookies. From the early looks of things, don’t expect Hickson to break this trend:
Cavaliers rookie J.J. Hickson is less than a month off his 20th birthday and at least two years younger than anyone else taking part in the team’s training camp. That includes the interns.
Not surprisingly, it’s showing.
While there was some belief that the 6-foot-9 inch forward could become an instant rotation player, some early training camp growing pains may be bringing everyone back to reality.
Now surrounded by all the veterans, Hickson is having some moments where he can’t keep up, especially on the defensive end.
I know we’d like to see reports of Hickson playing great D, but this is pretty much par for the course when you draft a 20 year old with the 19th pick. This shouldn’t worry Cavalier fans; the kid definitely has talent, just ask Mike Brown (and don’t smirk at Mike’s quote):
Even Brown said that Hickson’s skills have impressed him.
”He has a talent level that I can’t teach,” Brown said. ”If he’s able to do them in framework of what we want to get done as a team, then he has a chance to be very good for a long time.”
Hickson is basically where you’d expect a talented 20 year old would be (after one year of college). He’s playing on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and he knows that if he wants to play, he’s gonna have to D it up (plus, he gets to watch vets like LeBron, Ben Wallace and Z busting their humps night in, night out)- the kid will eventually get the Cavs’ defense.
(also, is anyone else pumped to be reading Cavs articles every day again (and I don’t mean mine)? I’ve been jonesin’ for the Cavaliers, especially after the way the Tribe’s season went and how the Browns’ season is currently playing out. I need the NBA back.)