Cavaliers coach Byron Scott called out third-year forward J.J. Hickson after an 83-77 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night for a lack of focus and the fact that he doesn’t fully know the offense yet.
Asked whether he thought Hickson could get it all together before Wednesday’s regular-season opener against Boston, Scott said, “I’m not very confident that he’ll have it down pat, but it won’t be because of a lack of effort on our end.”
With the return of forward Antawn Jamison in the exhibition finale after he missed the two previous games with a sprained knee, Hickson’s five-turnover night left the competition for the starting power forward spot up in the air.
“I’m still thinking,” Scott said. “I’m telling you, I’m still thinking.”
“It doesn’t surprise me that much, because I’ve seen it at practice at times, too,” Scott said. “To me it’s a lack of focus. I think he wants to do it but sometimes he’s 22 years old and he comes to practice and he’s not focused. He has to get much better.
“This is a job, something you have to take seriously. There’s nobody in the locker room that has an excuse because they have a video playbook and a playbook. And we’re always available. So there’s really no excuse.
“So he just has to get better. He has to take it a little bit more serious.”
Scott said Hickson wasn’t the only player who needed to get more comfortable in the offense, but he was the only one he named. And he’s the one who can most affect the start of the Cavs’ season.
I like this. I like this a lot.
I know Scott has had issues young players in the past (notably last year with Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison) so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m a little concerned that J.J. could get himself in the dog house, but I feel the Cavs need Hickson so much that he’ll get some minutes regardless (whether or not those come at the end of games, remains to be seen).
That being said, I feel like we’re wasting time if Jamison is the starting power forward. Hickson needs minutes. Period. This line worries me:
Jamison also helped himself. He impressed Scott with his conditioning and defense, despite shooting just 3-of-12 from the field while scoring seven points in 28 minutes.
Awesome. He shot 25% and helped himself. The last thing I want is to see this season is an Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison and Joey Graham based offense, so get your head on straight, J.J. The Cavs need to be playing the young guys (in my opinion, at least) but some tough love early on won’t hurt. I hope.