Byron Scott said J.J. Hickson came to him this summer and told him he's capable of more than he showed during his first two seasons in the league. Scott asked him to prove it and Hickson did in the summer league, averaging 19 points and 6.3 rebounds. Now Scott is a believer.
"He's going to have an opportunity this year to really shine and be one of the most improved players in the league," Scott said.
Scott believes Hickson is athletic enough to play either forward spot or center. He already proved he can handle himself as a 6-foot-9 center, but he hasn't played small forward yet.
The goal in all of this, of course, is to get both Antawn Jamison and Hickson on the floor together at the same time. Scott is more inclined to play Jamison at small forward than Hickson at center, but the problems could come on defense and rebounding.
After the trade from the Wizards, Jamison led the Cavs in rebounding at 7.7. Putting him on a 3 defensively will often pull him away from the paint, though, and perhaps leave him out of position to grab rebounds. And the Cavs are already trying to make up for LeBron James' 7.3 rebounds last year. They can ill-afford to lose anyone else.
"It just depends on if we're playing a guy who dominates the ball and has the ball in his hands a lot, that pretty much takes me away from the basket as a 3," Jamison said. "There's going to be situations where I'm going to be away from the ball a lot, but you still have to have a knack. That's one thing with myself is I always had a knack for getting rebounds."
* All the running from the first day of practice Tuesday left a mark on today's practice. "You can tell some guys are a little sore,'' Scott said. "That's usual. I wasn't worried about it.'' The 34-year-old Jamison said he fell into bed early Tuesday night and didn't move until he had to get up for practice.
* Single game tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
* A profile on Maverick Carter, complete with a LeBron James interview, is set to air on CNN at 8 p.m. tonight.