Could Ole Miss Sharpshooter Marshall Henderson Ever Play in the NBA?

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMarch 28, 2013

Dec 1, 2012; Oxford, MS, USA;  Mississippi Rebels guard Marshall Henderson (22) celebrates during the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Tad Smith Coliseum.  Mississippi Rebels defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 80-67.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall Henderson's scoring outburst as a junior at Ole Miss certainly hasn't gone unnoticed. But how will it translate to a future in basketball?

Henderson will essentially be auditioning for a three-point specialist role at the NBA level. The three-ball is the only thing that separates him, other than his character, from other prospects in the field.

Unfortunately, the position doesn't exist for 6'2'' guards in the pros. Go check out the depth chart for every NBA team and you won't find any undersized shooting guard whose only responsibility is to knock down the long ball.

And yes, that's the only thing he brings to the NBA table, other than his competitiveness, which I admittedly admire.

Think about this: Henderson averages 10.9 three-point attempts and 4.4 two-point attempts per game. He scores 20.1 points per game, yet only makes two field goals per game inside the arc!

Overall, he takes 15.3 shots per game and only shoots 38.1 percent from the floor. That's a poor usage-to-conversion ratio.

The point is he's too one-dimensional, and he's not even good enough in that one dimension to let it override his deficiencies.

Henderson is only a 35 percent long-range shooter. Let's compare him to guards who are 6'4'' and under, both of the past and present, who had tried or are trying to find a role as a three-point specialist.

Most Recent College Year
3-pt FGA 3-pt FGM 3-pt Percentage
J.J. Redick 9.2 3.9 42.1
John Jenkins 8.7 3.8 43.9
Marshall Henderson 10.9 3.8 35.0


Henderson needed nearly two more attempts than Redick and over two more attempts than Jenkins to get similar results.

To make things worse, Henderson is two inches shorter than both players. And I only picked these two guys because they're the only recent ones I can think of 6'4'' and under who actually made the NBA based primarily on their three-ball.

If you're going to audition for a three-point specialist role, the No. 1 thing teams will be looking for is consistency. A three-point specialist is useless during an off-day, and too many off-days means too many wasted minutes.

Henderson has shot below 35 percent from downtown in 19 different games this year. In one four-game stretch in late November and early December, Henderson went 10-of-46 from behind the arc. That's 36 three-point misses in four games!

In a loss to Mississippi State, Henderson actually missed 15 three-pointers in 31 minutes.

During Ole Miss' two NCAA tournament games, Henderson missed a combined 20 three-pointers!

On top of everything, Henderson projects as a defensive liability. At just 6'2'', 175 pounds, guarding NBA 2-guards is out of the question, while NBA point guards would eat him alive with quickness.

There's only one possible role for Henderson, and that's as a three-point specialist. Unfortunately, his three-ball just isn't that special. No team in the NBA would give him the green light he needs at Ole Miss in order to get going.

I could run 10 miles if I have two weeks to do it. Henderson is obviously a dangerous three-point threat, but his scoring production isn't worth the amount of missed ones it takes him to get there.

Henderson doesn't really have a shot at the NBA level. He could be a draw overseas, but don't count on any pro franchise using a draft pick on an undersized, volatile, inconsistent, high-volume three-point shooter with character issues.