Archive for the ‘Blazers’ Category

“Scola Can’t Jump, Hickson Can”

Tonight JJ Hickson will get his second start in place of LaMarcus Aldridge for the Blazers.  In total this marks his third start for the blazers, and we all remember what he did the last time he started for Aldridge.  If Hickson can drop 19 tonight, which seems perfectly plausible with Aldridge out and Batum a game-time decision, he will have scored more points in 12 games and 3 starts, and about half as many minutes, as he did in 35 games and 9 starts in Sactown.  Let the saltiness continue.  His statistics continue to improve in the defense and effort columns over the last few games, and his per 36 minute averages are now at 17.5 points, 8.8 boards (3.6 offensive), 1.2 dimes, .8 steals, and 1.2 blocks, while shooting 56.3 percent from the field.  Last time I checked, those were pretty solid numbers for most starting centers in the NBA these days.  The only real flaws he’s currently showcasing are his 58.8% FT percentage with the team , which should eventually migrate towards his career average of  66.8%.  Tonight’s start against Golden State should provide Hickson with a valuable opportunity to showcase his atheleticism against the Warriors d-league level defensive front court.

“Hickson Tracks Down Udoh”


Out-Tanked in P-Town & Hickson

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Blazers, Hoops
Tags: ,

Hickson treats Jordan Williams like a 3rd grader in a HS Varsity Game (Note: it’s not Kris Humpries, even though both Mike Barrett and the video identify the player as Humphries.  S/O to Ben Yew for the correction)

While the Blazers (player and coaches at least) have made no overt efforts to tank since the trade deadline (despite our site’s pleading), the benching of D-Will last night at least on the surface appeared to be a tanking power move, considering the Nets have been on a roll lately, and the Blazers had every reason to lose that game (would’ve helped ensure they maintained two top draft choices in this year’s lottery).  Needless to say the Blazers cruised last night, with Aldridge, Batum, and Hickson all dominating the Nets buttery soft front court.

For Cavs fans, and certainly for Sacto fans, it must be somewhat hilarious and slightly infuriating  to watch JJ Hickson continue to play out of his mind in Portland.  Portland has to be sure in evaluating the long-term value of Hickson to note that he has every reason to play for his own future right now, and is probably more motivated than he’s been at any point in his career to produce, not for his team, but for himself.  While his career shattering PER of 22.9 through his first 8 games is reason enough for Portland fans & brass to be justifiably excited about the addition of Hickson (especially considering it was a waiver claim), he still has a career low 13.6% total rebound percentage during his stretch in Portland.


Hickson Posterizes Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward (via TheBlazersVideos)

By far the most entertaining thing going on for the Trailblazers these days is elite displays of atheleticism that JJ Hickson puts forth on occasion.  We’re still looking at a small sample size, and he certainly didn’t have a particularly special game on Monday night, but it’s still worth noting that since moving from Sacramento to the Blazers just seven games ago, Hickson has raised his FG% for the whole season by 6.9% and scored over a third of his points, in under 24% of his minutes on the season.  It’ll be interesting to see if he continues to develop, but the biggest issue continues to be his rebounding percentage.  Last night, on the defensive end, he was again one of the worst rebounders in the entire game.  With his atheleticism and the knack he shows above at getting to boards on the offensive end, it’s disappointing that he doesn’t do a better job of protecting the paint and rebounding on the defensive end.  There’s no doubt that this is one of those things that caused Byron Scott, Paul Westphal, and Keith Smart all to give minutes to other seemingly less talented players.  If he wants to play center for the Blazers in the future, that has to change – as Aldridge is not strong enough on the defensive end to make up for Hickson’s lack of effort down there.  Still, it’s disappointing to see Przybilla starting over him, and I have to think that the Blazers are really only doing that out of respect for bringing the Vanilla Gorilla out of retirement, and maybe so Hickson can bring some energy off the bench for them.  

Up next for the Blazers are the Nets, a must lose game in terms of tanking positioning and preserving that Nets’ draft pick for themselves – but I doubt the players and coaches see it that way.  Still, it will be interesting to see how Crash Wallace responds in his return to the Rose Garden, and you know D-Willikers is going to have his way with the Blazers as well. 

DeAndre Jordan Gets Mozgov’d/Perkins’d in the Staples Center (courtesty of Get Banged On)

While Blazermaniacs seem to be waivering in their ethusiasm for their squad post trade deadline, and probably pre-deadline, the pick-up of JJ Hickson off the waiver wire has at the very least provided more offensive energy and atheleticism than they’ve shown all year.  While coach Canales will have to work on their defensive schemes, the duo of Hickson and Aldridge could be both offensively devastating and very solid on the glass.  Combine them with a solid pick and roll point guard, and Matthews and Batum in on the wings, and this could be a mix that’s tough assignment for any NBA team to defend.  With potentially two lottery picks this year, things are certainly looking brighter for the Blazers, as early as next season.  And if nothing else, he should give blazer fans a reason to keep that sellout streak alive, which must keep the Vulcans happy.


Blake making the decision to try and avoid this poster after watching what Hickson did to Jordan (via Mij305)

Hickson’s 29-13-3 Line was certainly nasty on the offensive end, although one can’t help but notice that someone as atheletic as Hickson did not manage a single block or steal.  While small sample size is certainly rearing it’s ugly head in these statistics, and Hickson won’t often get the chance to be the primary offensive option he was last night, with LaMarcus out of the lineup, Hickson has posted career shattering advanced stats in his brief time with the blazers, including a PER of 25.5, a 63.6 TS %, and 65.5% eFG.  But it’s important to note that his usage rate is his highest except in 10-11 in Cleveland when there were really no other offensive options.  It’s also important to note that his rebounding percentages are at career lows, but his assists are higher than any season except his last year playing with Lebron.  I wouldn’t make much of all of this, other than he’s playing at a high level through his first five games on the blazers, and should easily warrant an extension, unless he proves to be overly knuckleheaded and refuses to play d (both possibilities it would appear).  But for now, Rip City gets to enjoy one of the elite atheletes in the NBA, playing at a very high level. 

Thabeet and Babbitt both got new season highs in minutes for the blazers last night, and Babbit played decently (despite the fact that he had no business lining up with Blake Griffin), while Thabeet managed to flirt with fouling out in just 8 minutes.  Flynn played well in 15 minutes as well, and looks like he might be worth an extension to me as a combo guard off the bench.  It’d be nice to see Flynn’s numbers continue to go up a bit, but it’s understandable as well as Felton has run the pick and roll with Hickson, why Canales would want to keep him on the floor.   

If you’re 7’2″ then do you think my release is 13’9″ish?

JJ Hickson made his debut with the Portland Trailblazers last night against the Lakers add proved to be pretty efficient offensively, even if he did not show much on the defensive end.  According to Hoopdata’s advanced box score for the game, Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge each lead blazers who took more than 1 field goal attempt, with a 66.7% Effective Field Goal percentage.  At the same time, Hickson posted a very pedestrian 5.3% rebound rate (to put that in the context of other blazers last night, the rebound rates for Kurt Thomas (22.5%) LaMarcus (12.8%) Przybilla (6.9%) and Wes Matthews (8.1%) were all superior and every member of the Lakers who played (except for Troy Murphy, who played only 3 minutes) was over 6.5%.    Obviously, the blazers got godbodied on the boards last night in general, and it’s a small sample size – so it’s too soon to draw any definitive conclusions.  By all accounts and metrics Hickson was one of the most efficient and effective players on the court for the blazers last night offensively, while playing against some pretty solid defensive bigs.

More importantly, the blazers lost.  They didn’t eek out another meaningless win against a solid western conference opponent and jeopardize the quality of their potential draft picks.  Combine that with the fact that NJ won tonight, Detroit lost, Washington lost – this was a pretty important loss for the blazers last night.


“Look Canales – I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly!”

Egads, Blazers management.  WHAT THE F— ARE YOU DOING?  So you had to give the blazers a pass for going out and whopping the Bulls right after they fired Nate, and dumped 40% of their starting lineup.  I get it.  But the blazers have all the tools to be losing at this point (I’m looking at you the quadumvirate known as Flabeeksonabbitt), and should also be auditioning the aforementioned Flabeeksonabbitt for future rotation gigs – given that even with the dumping of Wallace and Camby, the blazers still have a 32, 33, and a 39 year old (none of whom are on long-term deals) logging a combined 66 minutes in the rotation.  Canales, clearly auditioning himself for next year, more than auditioning any members of Flabeeksonabbitt, gave them a combined 8 rotation minutes last night (4 to Flynn, and 4 to Babbitt).  The proposed explanation, is that Canales wants to give the members of Flabeeksonabbitt some time to learn the offensive and defensive schemes.  The big problem I see with that is, what does teaching them the offense or defense have to do with helping us lose games?  If I were Paul Allen I’d dictate that nobody be taught any offense or defense for the rest of the season.


On the road to the bottom the Blazers move their L-W record to (2-1), a sign that their post all-star tank job is off to a pretty first week, despite the rocky start of trouncing the best team in the league.  The bad news of the week is that

It’s a little hard to judge Hickson, who looked so solid in his second season (Lebron’s last in CLE), that the Cavs almost managed to flip him into Amare Stoudemire.  How does one go from there to being waived by the lowly Sacramento Kings?  Part of Hickson’s break out 09-10 campaign had to be the Lebron factor, but keep in mind that although his FG% dipped sharply from 55% to 45% in the next season, his PER actually rose from 15.2 to 15.9.  A quick examination of his stats, shows that this had more to do with a nice bump in his rebound rate, from 14.1% of available rebounds to 15.3% of available boards in 10-11.  Some of both of these statistics can be attributed tot he lack of Lebron, as JJ was clearly a bit of what Kenny Smith has dubbed, “a looter in a riot,” often being a primary option on the floor for a really horrible Cavs team.  It’s worth noting that JJ never really had the support of Byron Scott, playing only 28 minutes per game last year, despite the fact that he was one of few “up and coming” talents on a horribly bad Cavs team.

While the move to Sacramento may have seemed like a decent fit when he signed, the Kings go relatively deep with serviceable forwards and centers, with Boogie Cousins, Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw, and Donte Green all capable of playing either the 4 position, the 5 position, or both.  Their lack of a true point guard, consistent offensive identity, or sound defensive schemes probably all hurt Hickson who averaged an appalling 37% from the floor this season.