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Byron Scott is not happy with JJ Hickson in Cleveland

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There is always a silver lining. One of the little ones in Cleveland was that JJ Hickson was finally going to get the run and recognition he deserved. No shadow of LeBron, new coach with a running system, this was going to be Hickson’s coming out party.

But while Hickson is putting up 14.3 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting, coach Byron Scott sees far too many mental lapses in the team’s new Princeton-style offense, as he told the Akron Beacon Journal

”He’s one we’re counting on to play a major role in what we’re doing. Right now, from an offensive standpoint, he’s not understanding what we’re trying to do,” Scott said. ”That’s disappointing, especially as much as we go through it every day.”

‘I’m not very confident that he’ll have it down pat,” Scott said. ”But it won’t be because of a lack of effort on our end.

”It’s just lack of focus. He wants to do it, but sometimes he’s 22 years old and he comes to practice and he’s not focused. This is a job and something you have to take seriously. There’s nobody in that locker room that has an excuse because they have a video playbook and they have a playbook. They can go home and watch it on DVD, go home and open the book up and we’re always available. So there’s really no excuse. He has to get a little better and take it more seriously.”

Scott has moved from the positive encouragement model — “it’s his job to lose” — to the kick him through the media model. He’s gone to the Phil Jackson school.

For Hickson, this new system seems like a radical change from how he played his whole life. Which is not a shock, when you look at the high school, AAU and college systems. The floor spreading and balance, the cuts that are taught at a young age to European players are not learned here. Here we get our best player the ball and get out of the way. So you put in an offense with those movement/balance principles and it is hard for some to learn and adjust.

Scott needs to find a way to get through, because at the end of the day he needs Hickson. Talent wins in this league, and Hickson has that. He is a great athlete who can excel, especially when the Cavaliers run.

But he’s got to be working within the system, too.

C.J. McCollum ejected for flagrantly fouling Gordon Hayward (video)

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I’m not sure C.J. McCollum meant to grab Gordon Hayward‘s neck. The 6-foot-8 Hayward elevated, and the 6-foot-4 McCollum just might not have been able to get high enough to make a play on the ball.

But McCollum did grab Hayward’s neck.

It was a dangerous and unnecessary play, especially in the preseason.

Report: Mavericks may be team interested in Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.

Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.

His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.

He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.