J.J. Hickson Has Found a Home with the Portland Trailblazers

Aaron McKinneyContributor IIApril 18, 2012

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Troy Murphy #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers and J.J. Hickson #31 of the Sacramento Kings go for a loose ball at Power Balance Pavilion on December 26, 2011 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

J.J. Hickson started as a front office favorite of the Cavs and never really wanted to leave Cleveland.

"I didn't see that coming at all," said Hickson." "Unfortunately it happened and I'm a Sacramento King now."

He was referring to being traded to Sacramento for Omri Casspi and a heavily protected first round pick.  He never fit into the run and gun offense in Sacramento and that really effected his play and mindset

As a King, Hickson averaged 4.7 points on 37 percent shooting, and 5.1 rebounds, which is down 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds from his last year with Cleveland.  It was clear the J.J. Hickson experiment in Sacramento was not going to work out and the Kings released him following the trade deadline.

In came the Portland Trailblazers to save J.J. Hickson's season and maybe his career.  Since joining the Blazers, he has averaged 14.3 points on 55.5 percent shooting and 7.8 rebounds. 

What changed from his short lived term in Sacramento?

It is really quite simple. Hickson only makes jump shots 32 percent of the time, but on shots around the rim he converts 61 percent of the time.  That means he is almost twice as effective at the hoop.

In the less disciplined Kings offense Hickson took more jumpers than shots around the rim.  Whether it be in pick and roll, on put backs or off of penetration, Hickson takes the majority of his shots around the rim with the Blazers. 

He was not set up to succeed in Sacramento and now is in Portland.  In a recent Slam Online interview when asked about potentially resigning in Portland Hickson said:

"Of course, I would love it. I’ve been getting some positive feedback from Coach, and from the organization as a whole, and I would love to re-sign here."

Hickson has played very well since landing in Portland and both the player and team could benefit from a long term extension.  If it does not work out, Hickson should never forget the opportunity provided to him in Portland.