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Halo 03-06-2005 07:43 PM

Dickau needed a chance; Scott gave him one with N.O.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
By Jimmy Smith
Staff writer

The first day of Dan Dickau's NBA career wasn't when he was drafted in 2002 in the first round by the Sacramento Kings, then swapped to the Atlanta Hawks.

It was Dec. 7, 2004, a date on the calendar which, in the years ahead, Dickau might be able to point to with a justifiable measure of pride, in light of the pregame conversation he had with Hornets coach Byron Scott.

The gist of the discourse went like this:

Dickau: "All I need is a chance."

Scott: "You'll get one here."

Nearly three months later, Scott leaned back in his chair, shook his head, and smiled.

"I just didn't know what to expect," Scott recalled of the scrawny specimen with a full shock of long, jet-black hair who'd been obtained in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 3.

"We had more than a few guys hurt at the time. It was just a matter of him getting an opportunity. It came a lot quicker than I thought.

"We had that talk in Houston. And I didn't plan on playing him 18 minutes that night. I planned on maybe 10 minutes. He had about three minutes the first night. I was planning to gradually get into it. But he played so well I figured, 'Let's see if he can do this again.' I was kind of blown away a couple weeks later at how well he was playing, how much poise he had and how quickly he picked things up."

Dickau scored 14 points against Houston.

The next night, he scored 17 against the New York Knicks at New Orleans Arena.

Then it was 18, 14, four, 23, seven, 14 and 13 -- all in reserve roles.

By Dec. 22, Scott was ready to put Dickau in the starting lineup. That was 34 games ago.

Dickau hasn't missed a start since.

With Dickau running the point, the Hornets have earned 11 of their 13 victories.

And Dickau, given the opportunity for which he longed, hasn't let it slip through his grasp.

In fact, he has built upon it, solidifying his position as the team's floor leader to the point of making Baron Davis, once thought to be the franchise's future, expendable.

"I'm just enjoying it," Dickau said. "That's the only thing I can say. Since Day One in the NBA, I've just prayed for an opportunity where I could get consistent minutes and get comfortable on the floor.

"Now that I'm in that situation, if I think about scoring a certain number of points a game, or think about this or that, that's the wrong approach. If I just go on the floor and want to enjoy playing basketball and play hard and play for the right reasons, that's when good things happen."

Each season the NBA gives the Most Improved Player award.

Consider these statistics:

Dickau has improved his per-game scoring average compared to last season by more than 12 points, his rebounds by nearly three, and his assists by nearly four.

Since his Hornets debut the day after the trade with Dallas -- an undistinguished three scoreless minutes against the Detroit Pistons -- Dickau has scored 13 or more points in 28 of New Orleans' past 42 games.

Dickau has surpassed his career totals of his first two seasons, split between Atlanta and Portland, and during his brief time with the Mavs, in his 44 games with the Hornets.

His closest challenger for most improved honors would be Charlotte center Primoz Brezek. Playing for an expansion team, he has increased his scoring average by 11, and his rebounds by six compared to his statistics last season with the Indiana Pacers.

All Dickau needed was a break.

"Sometimes it's just the wrong place at the wrong time," Scott said. "Sometimes you get a chance to be in the right place at the right time. It's all about timing. He got the opportunity here that he didn't in the other places.

"He's taken full advantage of it. It says a lot about his heart. Now other people around the league can see the kid can play."

That's something Dickau has known for a while. Even before the first day of his NBA life, Dec. 7, 2004.

"I did go in and told him (Scott) I felt I just needed a chance," Dickau said. "I felt that the whole time I've been in the NBA. Some guys get their chance sooner than others. The thing about me was I just kept working, staying patient, waiting for that chance.

"Coach Scott said, 'You're going to get your chance. I don't know if it's going to be today or the next day, but you are going to get a chance.' That was just added motivation for me mentally, to stay sharp and just enjoy the opportunity.

"And I did say to myself, 'Finally.' "


zachsaints52 03-09-2005 07:15 PM

Dickau needed a chance; Scott gave him one with N.O.
Good article, did you Halo figure him to be this good?

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