If the Toronto Raptors could go back two years ago, they’d probably want a mulligan for their 2008 draft.
The Raptors were interested enough in J.J. Hickson that they brought him in twice for pre-draft workouts. But instead of keeping the pick and selecting him, they sent the No. 17 selection to Indiana as part of the trade to acquire Jermaine O’Neal.
Hickson had only played one season at N.C. State and the Pacers wanted Roy Hibbert, whom the Raptors selected and then traded. O’Neal lasted just half a season in Toronto before getting dealt, along with Jamario Moon, to the Miami Heat.
Raptors coach Jay Triano remembers watching how “live” Hickson looked in the summer league. He went to the Cavs two picks later at No. 19.
“He’s obviously practiced hard and developed himself into a very good player,” Triano said. “He’s a guy who finds a way to score, he’s very active and he’s very long. You look at the stats and what he’s done so far, he’s played well.”