clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Better Know a Prospect: John Henson, PF - UNC

Getty Images

It seems unlikely that John Henson will fall to the tenth spot, simply because he's such a perfect fit with the Detroit Pistons, who hold the ninth pick. His game meshes so perfectly with Greg Monroe - his jumper can stretch the defense and give Monroe more space to operate, and he can guard stretch 4's on the defense, leaving Monroe to handle the bruisers in the post. To me, it seems that there's somewhat of a consensus growing around the Henson going at the 9th pick. The team, the fans, and the media all seem to think that Henson would be a great fit on the Pistons.

But this is the draft - weird things happen. It's entirely possible that Henson could be available at the 10th position. Would he be as good a fit with the Hornets as he would be with the Pistons?


Henson played his first three years of high school ball at Round Rock High School, just north of Austin, TX, before moving Tampa, Florida for his senior year. He had an outstanding senior season, garnering all the usual accolades - Parade Magazine All-American first team, McDonald's All-American, and an invite to the Nike Hoop Summit.

He joined the North Carolina for the Tar Heels' 2009-10 campaign, where he formed the nation's premiere frontcourt alongside Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller. He saw limited minutes in his freshman season (15 per game), but with the departure of Davis, saw significantly more playing time his sophomore and junior seasons. On an unrelated note, he appears to not care for people selling his memorabilia.


On offense, Henson came into UNC a bit raw, posting sub-100 offensive ratings in his freshman and sophomore years. Henson significantly increased offensive rating in his junior year, reaching 107, largely due to a marked decrease in his turnover rate. His shooting percentage has stayed remarkably constant throughout his career, always hovering around 50% effective and true shooting percentage.

Henson shines on the boards and on the defensive end of the court. He nabbed 25% of available defensive rebounds, good for first in the ACC, but he was a mediocre offensive rebounder, posting only a 9% offensive rebound percentage. He's particularly impressive as a shot blocker, using his 7'5" wingspan to block 2.9 shots per game while only committing 1.6 fouls per game.

Statistically, the questions about Henson's game start with his shooting. He's a terrible free throw shooter, only cracking 50% from the line in his junior year. He made only 34.6% of his jump shots, shooting just a touch better at 35.2% off the catch. He's simply not a very good shooter, even though he's able to finish well around the rim, converting over 60% of his shots near the basket.


Entering the NBA, Henson will be able to make a contribution on defense and on the boards. As an excellent rebounder, Henson would form a fearsome tandem with Greg Monroe were he to be drafted by the Pistons. He has incredibly long arms that are able to block shots in a variety of situations - he can reject driving guards, face-up jump shooters, and he gets a good number of blocks in help defense. He's an excellent pick and roll defender, thanks to his above-average quickness and length.

On offense, Henson has some interesting quirks. He shoots right-handed, but he seems to prefer finishing near the rim with his left hand. He's also developed a left-handed hook shot, along with a variety of post moves. Henson also shows the ability to drive to the basket and finish.

However, as a shooter, Henson has serious flaws. His shooting form is questionable - when he jumps, he contorts himself in midair, turning his body 90 degrees so that his right shoulder points to the basket as he begins to shoot. It's not a particularly efficient shooting form, and it shows in his stats.

Physically, Henson gives up a lot of size to most power forwards. He has a hard time carving out space in the post, and he has a hard time matching up defensively with bulky opponents, who tend to be able to bully him inside. He shies away from contact on occasion and doesn't appear interested in bruising post battles.


Henson's game resembles that of an older, less talented Anthony Davis. His value will initially be limited to defense, shot-blocking, and rebounding while his offensive game develops. If Davis and Henson were paired in the same frontcourt, it would cause significant defensive matchup problems. Since both Davis and Henson are svelte, they will likely be unable to guard legitimate NBA big men initially. Even after they put on bulk, however, Henson's game doesn't complement Davis at either end of the court.

If Henson were to fall to the 10 position, he would likely be the best player available. Would his talent be more important than his poor fit with Davis?