The Nuggets made their first splash in free agency Sunday agreeing to terms with center/forward J.J. Hickson on a three-year $15 million deal. The deal will not become official until Wednesday.
J.J. Hickson will throw down some monster slams for the Denver Nuggets next season.
Hickson will add depth to the Nuggets front court that includes JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov and newly acquired Darrell Arthur. Hickson has played six years in the NBA and averaged 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in 2012-2013 starting for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Hickson, 6-foot-9, 242 pounds, is an athletic big who can rebound and can score around the rim, but his defense was exploited last season when he started as an undersized center for the Trail Blazers. Hickson is a double-double machine when given minutes, but is more suited for the power forward position than banging in the post with larger centers. Hickson figures to come off the Nuggets bench and add extra surges of energy on the glass and some rim-rattling dunks.
Hickson, 24, was a 2007 McDonald’s All-American and played at college basketball at North Carolina State. He was the 19th selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Nuggets will be his fourth team in his career.
With Hickson on now on board, training camp will be interesting for the Nuggets and their now young and crowded front court. With Kosta Koufos out of the picture after being traded on draft day with the 27th pick Rudy Gobert to Memphis for Arthur, the Nuggets look to have made room for JaVale McGee to get his shot at being the starting center. McGee, Gallinari, and Faried are locks to be significant contributors to the Nuggets rotation, but Randolph, Mozgov, Arthur, and Hickson will fight for minutes in the Nuggets rotation especially with Gallinari out with an ACL injury. Gallinari was initially slated to be out until February, but he says his rehab is going well and is hoping to be back sooner than expected.
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