It’s time to focus our attention on what we do have. And somewhere, buried under all of that distaste for our former King, there’s a Cavalier Fanatic that believes this team can still compete this season. I’m not claiming that we have what it takes to win a championship right now because, as optimistic as I am, I don’t even believe that. But the Cavs have some very steady pieces that, if they work together, could finish the regular season in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. (For those of you that don’t follow me, that means they’ll make the playoffs).
So I am going to take the next couple weeks to break down our current team so that, by the end of this series, maybe we can all see just how dangerous this team can be.
Remember: We’re Clevelanders. There is no counting us out!
So without further ado, let’s take a look at #21 JJ Hickson.
After a season in which the Baby Bull more than doubled his career point production, JJ Hickson is faced with an enormous challenge. Only in his third season in the NBA, Hickson is expected to explode this season and lead the Cavaliers’ front court in nearly every offensive category.
His athleticism provides Cleveland with an entirely different dimension due in large part to the new run-and-gun offense brought to the franchise by new coach Byron Scott. Hickson proved last season that he is a dangerous weapon if he can get out and run in transition. And you better believe Coach Scott will capitalize on that advantage throughout the season.
Hickson’s defense is a huge question mark, however, as the six feet-nine inch forward is often matched up with opponents much taller than him. Case and point: Kevin Garnett in the 2010 Playoffs. And even though he is extremely athletic for his size, he has struggled to find a way to translate that quickness to the defensive end. And the Bull’s 2.7 rebounds per game is extremely poor given his size. There is no excuse for someone of his size to snag a mere 2.7 rebounds a night. Especially when you consider the explosiveness that Hickson has demonstrated on the offensive end.
I’m not completely sold on this guy being the future of our franchise. Perhaps because I have been spoiled by the play of LeBron James over the last seven years but I just don’t see JJ Hickson carrying this team to a championship anytime soon. He just doesn’t have the ability to change a game. He’s not that kind of player. I do, however, see JJ Hickson playing a key role in helping Cleveland reach the playoffs and silencing all critics in the 2010-11 season.
My prediction: 17 points and 7 rebounds a night for the Wine & Gold this season.
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