Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports that Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews was giving center J.J. Hickson a hard time at practice on Thursday.
When someone told Matthews they thought Hickson was a little off, he couldn't help but agree.
"What, you mean weird?" Matthews said, straight-faced. "And stupid and slow and dumb? Yeah, that's him."
Then Matthews started laughing. Hickson may be unique, but so is his game.
"He's playing great, he's playing tough, he's playing like an animal," Matthews said. "Just being active, doing everything that we ask him to. He's a dog. You don't need plays run for him. I think that's his best asset. You forget about him and you're like, look out, he's dunking on your head after an offensive rebound. That's what he does. He plays with energy, he's got an extremely high motor. He's athletic and he keeps us in games."
The jokes apparently began because Hickson has developed a reputation for posting strange things on Twitter. One recent tweet included (implied) profanity and a promise to essentially turn over a new leaf. Since posting it, he's had two consecutive double-doubles.
Here's how Hickson explained that tweet the other night.
"It wasn't to nobody specifically," Hickson told Blazersedge. "It was just me venting out loud. That's what Twitter can be used for, venting. Letting people know the type of mindset I have. It wasn't towards a specific person or problem. It was just how I was feeling at the time. I came out and I backed my words up."
Backing his words up, in his eyes, meant being more active and talkative. "I was playing too laid back in recent games," he said. "I wasn't really vocal. I wanted to take the extra step to play harder and be more vocal on this team. I think it showed tonight we just have to get Ws."
Hickson, 23, is averaging 11.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game this season.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter