Blazer Fanatic

Jan 08

Wolverine: JJ Hickson

By Blazer Fanatic Posted in: Blazers
Traded from Cleveland, waived from Sacramento, and picked up for nothing by Portland to fill out a roster that, by most measures, had been blown up.  JJ Hickson played like a man possessed for the final games of last year, fighting for his NBA career's life. And for the effort, when a giant hole remained at center after a failed free agency bid, JJ took up the tall task that his size says he wasn't fit to perform.  Neil Olshey saw things differently, and Terry Stotts wasn't going to accept "no" for an answer.

Undersized, undervalued, and underappriciated by all but the try hards and die hards in Portland, JJ has spent the last 33 games making a name for himself.  Working on a one year, $4 mil contract, JJ currently ranks:

78th in Points Per Game, 13th for all Centers (12.5 PPG)
     Remember, JJ's playing fewer than 30 minutes per game as the 5th option on a team with Aldridge (20.6 PPG), Lillard (18.2 PPG), Batum (16.3 PPG), and Matthews (15.6 PPG), each playing 35-39 MPG.  Those four alone combine for 58 FG attempts per game, while the entire team averages 83 FGA PG.

7th in Field Goal Percentage (0.551 FG%)

5th in Rebounds Per Game (11 RPG)

2nd in Double-Doubles (20), tied with Dwight Howard and David Lee

No, he's not a center and no, he's not a dominate, defensive presence in the paint, but he has been an invaluable part of something the Blazers (19-17) failed misserably at last season - winning. Portland had 19 losses before they had 19 wins, and once reaching 19, became a sub .500 team the rest of the season.

JJ has a fierce tempter that is unleashed when a shot goes up as he lashes out with the intense aggression of an enraged animal to get his hands on the basketball.  His effort is contagious, and has become the identity of a Blazer team that never gives up, never stops working, and always has a chance to win.  I doubt JJ will ever command a max deal, but he may very well be pricing himself out of his new home in Portland.
Next Story: Spider Man: Batum


  1. Ha, love the graphic, perfect fit and a great blog to back it up. Glad someone is giving Hickson the love he deserves. Nice presentation of stats too, definitely makes a great case for his dominance and value to the team.

    You also allude to the point that Hickson does all of this in less than 30 mpg, while his counterparts play 35-39 mpg. I think this is the most impressive stat of all. Hickson is willing to do the dirty work, use a ton of energy to fight for position and leap for rebounds, and his teammates know this. They know that when Hickson is on the floor, he will be the "wolverine" and spear those rebounds. Subsequently, they don't have to use a ton of energy to clean the glass and can focus on other aspects of their game. I would argue that this is a major factor in why our starters can log heavy minutes and still close out games (10-2 in games by 6 points or less, 5-0 in OT).

    Great blog.

    by MJB on 1/9/2013 7:24 AM
  2. 1st I’d like to say, I 2nd all of what MJB posted above. :) I've read a lot of ur blogs & comments (great info/facts/stats, almost every time after reading what you've written, I've learned something new!); I think of all of us out here, u present things from the least homeresque perspective, yet u r able to still show ur love 4 OUR Blazers & I respect/like that very much!

    I’m also a big JJ fan (I know & agree w/ u he’s not our center solution ;) & would love to keep him (he brings an energy to our team AND allows our other guys to save theirs); here’s my plan to keep JJ: we trade (BTW, this was a successful trade on ESPN’s trade machine ;) Wes (don’t want to lose him either but we’ve got to give up something of great value to other teams in order to get something to significantly improve our team for years to come) & Luke to Sac., Char. gets Tyreke Evans & Meyers Leonard (I like & believe in Meyers & would also like to keep him but for what our team needs, I believe we can get that from other players we bring in), we get MKG, T-Rob, & Biyombo and then @ the end of the season, we have a lot of $ to pay JJ w/ PLUS use however. I think these are all good character guys that have mental & physical toughness, they all make our team younger (aka this team can b 2gether for a long time & they should b able 2 stay pretty healthy), they all have good motors, they fill all the spots where we’re lacking (except the area of 2nd unit 2 guard, this is where Barton comes in), & they’ll all become much better players (even w/ their current skills/knowledge, we’ll b looking pretty good :). What do u think of my plan?

    by Simpson on 1/9/2013 1:50 PM
  3. MJB - If we had a reliable 25-30 min big and SG off the bench, there's not doubt that those tired legs of Wes, Batum, Lillard, and LA would get some much needed relief.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/9/2013 2:52 PM
  4. Simpson - I would much prefer keeping Wes, and picking up a guy like Redick. I think the only real upgrades to Wes would be Kobe, Wade, Harden, or Gordon. Disturbing the team chemistry for what I see as small, if not insignificant upgrades is not worth it in my opinion. I think the only guy I'd consider from Sac, is maybe Jimmer, if we couldn't land Redick. Wes is a starter, and an invaluable player on this team on both ends of the court, and in the locker room.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/9/2013 2:59 PM
  5. Thx for the editing blog info :)

    "I don't love the trade, but it's definitely an idea." I hear ya. Hahaha! ;)

    by Simpson on 1/9/2013 11:06 PM
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