SLAM’s Brendan Bowers touched base with new Kings power forward JJ Hickson for a quick Q&A session. Among the questions Hickson answered was this one regarding his intensity level.
SLAM: You mentioned the lapses you had at times, but you also turned in some of your best performances last season against the Amar’e Stoudemires and Blake Griffins of the world. Is bringing that same intensity and focus that you had against those guys every night, no matter who you’re matched up with, something you’re focused on improving for next season, and what is the upside for you if you do that?
JH: I’m really not happy that I let that perception get out as far that approach to the bigger name players goes, but I have to continue to put that upon myself to get up for every game no matter who I’m playing. Whether I’m playing Amar’e, Blake, or whoever, I have to get up there and have that same intensity every night. I think that’s what makes players great in the NBA, in that they give it their all every night, and they have that same intensity every night. So I have to do a better job at doing that. And I think when I do that, the sky is the limit for me.
Against Stoudemire’s Knicks and Griffin’s Clippers, Hickson did post some impressive averages. In the Cavaliers two meetings versus Los Angeles, Hickson averaged 27.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Against the Knicks in four games, three of them starts, he averaged 19.5 points and eight rebounds per game
Hickson also performed well versus a few other teams featuring some of the league’s best bigs. He averaged 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games against the Memphis Grizzlies frontline of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. In two contests versus Nene and the Denver Nuggets, Hickson averaged 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
Statistically, when was Hickson at his worst last season? Versus the Houston Rockets, he started one of two games and averaged only 4.5 points and four rebounds. Against the Milwaukee Bucks, Hickson posted averages of 4.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.