John Henson: Highlights, Analysis and Pro Projections
John Henson is a lean, shot-blocking machine with a developing offensive repertoire. He helped lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to a Final Four appearance last season.
In Henson's junior season he averaged 13.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots per game. The 6'11" big man made himself eligible for the draft on March 29.
Henson comes from a basketball family. His father played at Norfolk State, and his sister plays for Duke (holidays at the Hensons must be interesting).
Henson's stock could rise because of the lack of quality big men in the NBA, and he is a solid athlete with legitimate height. ESPN's Chad Ford has him as the sixth-best player at his position. I think the accuracy of that ranking depends on which position he ends up playing.
Right now Henson would have to be a PF because his frame hasn't filled out as of yet. If Henson can gain some muscle, he has the ability to play center as well. If you project where he could be as a center, I'd say he is the third-best center in the draft.
Here is a scouting report on Henson, highlighting his strengths and weaknesses.
(Height, weight and stats per statsheet.com)
Weight: 220 pounds
School: North Carolina
Date of Birth: December 28, 1990
Best NBA Position: Power Forward
College Stats: (key stats in bold) 13.7 PPG, 29.1 MPG, 50 FG%, 0 3FG%, 51.1 FT%, 1.3 APG, 9.9 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 0.6 SPG
Ball Handling: B-
Post Game: B
Basketball IQ: A
Henson is a solid athlete who runs the floor well, and has decent leaping ability. He is a long and obstructive defender with great timing for blocked shots.
What do you think Henson's best NBA position will be?
He plays hard and he is a leader on the floor—especially on defense. He not only blocks shots, he also has a good understanding of where his teammates are supposed to be.
His length and understanding could make him an elite defender on the NBA level.
Henson is developing a nice 15-foot jump shot, and he has the ability to finish in the post with either hand. He has a mean streak that you want your big men to have, and he takes pride in protecting his basket.
From day one he can be a force defensively, but it'll take him some time to get things in order on the other end of the floor.
Here is a look at Henson at his best:
Though Henson is long, he is rail thin. He will have a problem holding his ground against most NBA big men. It is imperative that he add some muscle to reach his potential. As his body matures he will add weight, but he needs to make sure it's productive weight.
Henson is a willing passer, but sometimes a lazy one. He can lose concentration in this aspect, and it of course can lead to turnovers. This is something he can improve with more concentration on every aspect of the game.
Defensively there is little for him to do besides gain weight, but on offense he doesn't have a game putting the ball on the floor. He is a good athlete, but he has limited dribble-drive moves, and he is so light that he is easily bumped off track in drives to the basket.
Most of Henson's issues are due to his lack of physical strength. If he makes bulking up a priority he can be a very solid big man in the NBA.
NBA Player Comparison
Chandler began his career as a thin seven-footer with very limited offensive ability. His body matured and he found his niche offensively running the floor, and working the offensive glass. Now he is the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, two-time All Defensive Team selection and solid pivot man.
He will never be a big scorer, but he isn't a complete liability on offense. For his 11-year career he has averaged 8.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.
I see Henson being able to develop in the same way—except he has a much more refined set of offensive skills. He can make a jump shot and he is better with his back to the basket.
I don't know if Chandler was ever quite as thin as Henson, but he certainly needed to add muscle to become what he is today. I can see Henson's career taking a similar path.
Mid- to late-first round.
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