Portland Trail Blazers May Have Found a Contributor in J.J. Hickson

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IApril 11, 2012

J.J. Hickson.
J.J. Hickson.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 The 2011-12 NBA season is now down to the final weeks, although there is still a lot to be determined before the end of April.

While the Portland Trail Blazers are battling for a possible playoff berth this season, they have made a lot of significant changes to their team since the trade deadline. Head coach Nate McMillan was fired, and then veterans Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace were traded to Houston and New Jersey, respectively, followed by the release of Greg Oden, marking the end of a crazy era in Portland.

Now enters Kaleb Canales, who will fill in as the interim head coach and look to help the Trail Blazers either gear for the postseason or the offseason. The team is also in the process of finding a general manager to help it rebuild through the draft and free agency.

Along with Kanales enters J.J. Hickson, a former first-round draft pick in 2008, who has not quite played to his potential yet but still needs time to develop after wearing out his welcome in both Cleveland and Sacramento.  Potential is something that is highly valued around the league as young players sometimes take a longer period of time to “find” themselves and become comfortable in a system.

Hickson was acquired off waivers from Sacramento after the Kings were unable to trade the young forward by the trade deadline.

In a total of 11 games with the Trail Blazers, Hickson has been averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. In 35 games with the Sacramento Kings, Hickson averaged 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

If Hickson continues his impressive play, he could find himself in Portland next season and be given a chance to find a role with a team that could have a lot of new faces.