Fitting Into The Offense Is A Breeze For Newest Trail Blazer J.J. Hickson
The newest addition to the Portland roster, J.J. Hickson, made a splash on Tuesday night in the Rose Garden as he led not only the bench in scoring, but the whole team.
Hickson suited up for just his fourth game as a Trail Blazer and put up double digit points for the second time.When you consider that he's only played in three of those his feat becomes even more impressive. Tonight he racked up 21 points on 9-of-ten shooting while nabbing 4 boards and three steals in Portland’s 109-95 loss the the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His presence off the bench paired with new point guard Jonny Flynn proved to be a positive combination. Flynn, who scored 10 points and dished five assists, sang Hickson’s praises post-game and even credited their ally-oop connection as the moment he really started to feel comfortable on the court.
“He’s a guy that’s gonna set the screen and he’s gonna roll hard. As a point guard those are two things you want. Somebody that’s gonna stop somebody, hit somebody on the screen and who is gonna dive to the basket,” Flynn said of Hickson’s style of play. “J.J. is a guy that can get it in that mid-range area and kinda make a move. You see a lot of guys in this league, you have to spoon-feed ‘em. A guy like J.J, you give it to him, ya hop-step between the legs and he’s so agile as a big man he really makes point guards look good.”
Commanding the post while in the game, Hickson’s contributions can be measured in more than buckets and rebounds. He infused energy into a second unit that was stagnant at times behind leader Jamal Crawford. Hickson places his infectious energy at the top of the list of positives he brings to the court.
“Energy, getting into the paint, getting dunks, rebounding. I haven’t been rebounding good but I think once I get my legs back under me you’ll start to see those ten-plus rebound games,” Hickson said. “I feel real comfortable here. On the court I feel comfortable with the sets we’re running and I feel I’m getting a little bit better with the defensive schemes that we’re going through.”
In the three games Hickson has had to adjust to his new home hes shot 65 percent from the field tallying a total of 39 points. Despite facing the the challenges of acclimating to a new city, and new team and a new system his success demonstrates his commitment to compete.
Even after a stand-out individual performance the first words out of his mouth were about the team.
“It felt great to get out there, get up and down a little bit, but it would have felt a lot better if we woulda got the W.”