So Long JJ Hickson… Too Soon?

Really?... Really?

So the 2011 NBA Draft has come and gone, the Cavaliers made their picks at #1 and #4, picking Point Guard Kyrie Irving and Forward Tristan Thompson. With the pick of Tristan Thompson  was kind of a surprise, but with the way the picks before the Cavs selected again went, he is actually who I predicted the team to take, although I did figure he would factor into a later trade. After the Cavs didn’t trade him I did a little digging and found out a little more about him. He might not be the future face of the franchise, but I can see him developing into a very nice NBA player. He has great length and athleticism, and can really play some defense. Where his game lacks is inside scoring and limited shooting range. The Cavs supplemented his downfalls with the addition of Omri Casspi, the shooting Small Forward from Sacramento who can shoot the lights out now and then. Unfortunately, in picking up Casspi the Cavs dealt away future All Star Power Forward JJ Hickson. In my mind, I saw Thompson being a very good counter part to the aggressive interior stylings of Hickson moving forward, but it would appear that the team did not see things the same way I did, and it has taken me some time to come to terms with Hickson’s trade. Hickson is still very young, and probably rawer than he should be at this point in his career, but I feel like the team may have dropped the ball with this one, and I would hate to see it come back to bite them later after he blossoms somewhere else.

I find myself having a hard time justifying this deal, maybe I am short sighted, but I feel like the Cavs are losing a lot more in the short term than they are gaining. I could have easily predicted the team trading Antawn Jamison, not Hickson. I guess they got to the point where despite his tremendous talent, they didn’t want to take the risk down the road that he is the next Kwame Brown. A super talented big man who could be absolutely on fire one game and the most absent player on the team the next. Sure, they added another future 1st round pick, so of course it is hard to judge this trade right now, but looking at the swap of Hickson for Casspi leaves me kind of dumfounded. You traded a double-double daily player like Hickson for a 37% shooting 3-point 6’9” swing man. Casspi can certainly blossom and fill a void at the small foward position, but I could have imagined Tristan Thompson doing the same thing. I like Samardo Samuels but he is not a better PF than Hickson.

Hickson is a known commodity in the NBA, a future star PF who has the potential to average over 20 points per game with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot, instead of being patient and continuing to work with him to hone that talent, the team ships him to Sacramento for a back up swing man. How does that make sense? I thought the whole point of adding a PG like Kyrie Irving with the #1 pick instead of picking up Derrick Williams was to get a true point guard to get the ball down low to Hickson? I know GM Chris Grant is still new to running a team, but I think the trade of Hickson shows that the team has a lack of direction right now, which I think will hurt them going into the next season whenever that may be. With Hickson I thought the Cavs might have a shot, however very slim, at a 8 seed playoff run, without him I predict another run at the #1 overall pick, but maybe that is what the Cavs want. From what it seems, I am not the only one who feels that way. Antawn Jamison kind of agrees with my confusion with the trade,“He’s a great talent. Hopefully this move will be what he needs to take things to the next level, but it was definitely surprising. It was a logjam (at power forward). With who we took with the fourth pick, that created it. (Hickson) has such of an upside. I guess I was really a big fan of him. I thought he was going to be one of those guys who actually got it. They wanted to go in a different route” Even if Hickson has reached his peak, he is a serviceable NBA big, Casspi is even more unknown. What did Chris Grant say about Casspi in interviews after the trade? He commented on his toughness. If that is all you like about a guy, is he really worth giving up your team’s best player?

Just one of the things the Cavs will miss

So while I almost gave up on this team last year, Hickson was the reason I watched every game. I’ll still watch this year to see what Irving and the other youngsters can bring, but I hope Casspi is can make an impact, or else this trade is a complete bust. The Kings got a future All Star to add to an impressive and talented young team, and I think Hickson will take that step forward this year and jump to the next level, and the Cavs will regret making this move. There really is not much left to say about it, first and second, and third, and a week of stewing over it, impressions are that the Cavs missed on this trade. I am disappointed to see Hickson leaving, but what does it matter? It is not the move I would have made, and no other Cavs fans I know would have made it, but I guess we have to trust in the team’s judgement, and see what happens with the #1 overall pick next year…

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