Fighting for minutes with: Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Samuel Dalembert, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ekpe Udoh and Scott Skiles' irrational love towards veterans that aren't very good.
I'm not sure we can really describe Milwaukee's frontcourt as deep. Sure, there are a lot of players to dole minutes to, but it's a lot more crowded than deep. "Deep" would imply there are a lot of players on the roster you really want to give minutes to, and I don't think Gooden and Sanders really qualify for that right now.
The tricky part for Henson is showing he can play center. If he can, despite his thin frame and high butt (more on this in a minute), then it allows Skiles to play Ilyasova and Henson at the same time. That's the best-case scenario for their lineup configurations at the 4 and 5 positions.
But Dalembert is a veteran, and a cranky one if he's not getting minutes. Ekpe Udoh is very good at what he does and will be hard to keep off the floor. Mbah a Moute's defense can't just be left on the bench, and Drew Gooden...well, we can still see his weird hair decisions from the bench. He doesn't need to be out there.
Why he's going to be a stud
Henson can flat-out ball. Two years ago, I was curious how he was going to even be good enough to play at the NBA level. His improvement over those two years make those former feelings of mine seem completely ludicrous. He has an outside game and a surprising post game, even though he has a high butt (almost there).
His touch around the basket is incredible and translates to him tipping offensive rebounds away from the defenders and into his hands or the basket. He's another one of these young hybrid big men who has a wingspan that won't quit.
Defensively, he should be able to guard three positions. In fact, he may be the new Andrei Kirilenko in the way he roams defensively and swats away shots from the weak side. You can definitely get away with playing him at the 3. His wingspan and quick feet allow it.
He has every tool available, and that should guarantee him playing time right away. He just needs Scott Skiles to have a clear mind and realize Drew Gooden is not the answer. He's never the answer.
Why he could be a dud
Okay, here's the thing about a high butt. I have a theory that players who have butts higher in proportion to their natural waist line than the average athlete struggle in the NBA. Now, I once floated this to David Thorpe, and he responded with, "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a high butt and he turned out okay."
I had no response to that, but maybe I do now. Kareem's game wasn't contingent on having deep post position. He was so lanky, and his sky hook was so deadly even out to 15 to 17 feet that he could overcome his high-buttedness (made it up).
Guys like Hasheem Thabeet and Randy Foye both have high butts. Numerous other players have had the same affliction, and it seems to cut down on not only their leverage as a player but also their ability to move quickly and smoothly on a basketball court.
They end up walking like those aliens in the movie The Arrival, and I keep waiting for Charlie Sheen in hipster eyeglasses to rescue us all from their invasion. (Okay, this may have gotten away from me.)
So what if my theory is correct and John Henson can't overcome having a high butt? If the defenders in the NBA can take away his perimeter game, he'll need to fight for position on the low block. He can't get leverage as constructed, unless he's able to make his legs into powder kegs of power.
It's the only thing, outside of Scott Skiles' love for veterans, that can keep Henson from being a stud in his rookie season.