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Detroit Pistons Draft Dreams: John Henson

Although Harrison Barnes is the biggest name of North Carolina’s potential lottery picks, John Henson might be the best fit for the Pistons. Both players are expected to announce their decisions on whether to stay at UNC or enter the draft soon.


Measurables: 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, sophomore forward from North Carolina

Key stats: 11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the field

Projected: Lottery

How would he help the Pistons?

I’m intrigued by shot blockers more than anything in this draft simply because if Greg Monroe is the long-term solution at one starting frontcourt slot, as he seems to be, then the Pistons really need to find someone who can protect the rim at the other spot if they’re ever going to return to their roots as a stingy defensive unit. Henson, who finished 17th in the country in blocked shot percentage, averaged 3.2 blocks per game this season. He’s fast and athletic, he runs the floor and he protects the rim. Despite a slender build, Henson also averaged 10 rebounds per game this season. If he can develop into a Tyson Chandler-type player — a guy who blocks shots, rebounds, bothers people with his length and picks up four or five buckets per game getting offensive rebounds or finishing dump-off passes, he’ll basically be the perfect compliment to Monroe up front. If he adds weight, he might actually have more upside than a player like Chandler because Henson has the ability to put the ball on the floor a little bit and create.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

That slender frame is a concern. Granted, Henson is just a sophomore, but 210 pounds is just too light to get away with playing big minutes in a NBA frontcourt. Henson started off his UNC career as a small forward before moving to the frontcourt midway through last season. His shot-blocking should at least get him minutes in a rotation, but depending on how he reacts to bigger, more physical players it might take some time for him to become a reliable, big minutes option.

What are others saying?

From DraftExpress:

Henson handles the ball very well for a player his size and has the potential to be a matchup nightmare for opposing power forwards on the perimeter, where he can utilize his quick first step and long strides to beat his man to the basket. He showed flashed of this last season, but he was too easily bumped off his path because he was so thin and weak.

From ESPN:

It’s hard not to love what he can do on the defensive end. The question for so many NBA scouts is, where is he going to get his offense from? He doesn’t have a great perimeter game yet and shies away from contact inside. Henson could’ve had a number of big dunks against Michigan but instead fell away from the basket with a defender coming at him. That problem will be amplified in the NBA against bigger and stronger competitors. As talented as he is, most NBA teams think he should spend at least one more year in college to work on his body or his perimeter game.

From NBA Draft.net:

Has a lot of work to do on his body … His slight frame and narrow shoulders might make it difficult for him to put on any substantial bulk … Since he is so light, opposing big men have little trouble moving him out of position on the blocks, forcing him to shoot further out than he would like … Even though he is capable of playing both 3 and 4 positions, he is still a tweener on the offensive end because he is not a consistent threat at either spot … As a scorer he depends heavily on his ability to get garbage points as he has not yet developed a go to aspect to his game … His jumpshot is decent, but if he wants to become a more dangerous wingplayer, he needs to gain more consistency and extend his range.



  • Apr 6, 201110:18 am
    by Quick Darshan


    I agree about Henson being a good fit.  Of the bigs, Jonas V., Enes Kanter and Henson make the most sense as much as I love Derrick Williams game.

    Maybe he’ll fill out once he stops growing.

  • Apr 6, 20114:18 pm
    by rick


    No more 200lb big men, please, I beg you Joe. I agree a shot-blocking big man being what we need most, but this guy is just too skinny. I’d rather go with the other Enson, lol - Keith Benson in ther 2nd round, if were going for skinny shot-blocking big men.

    Benson is 6-11, 230lb, and avg 18 pts, 10 rebs, 4 blks on 55% FG’s and 39% 3PT FG’s. Albeit in a weak conference, but he still produced similat stats when they played big schools like MSU, Tenn, and Purdue.

    And some say he got dominated by Thompson vs Texas, but he still ended up with 15 pts, 11 rebs, and 3 blks. If thats him getting dominated, I’ll take it. Especially when we can get him in the 2nd round.

    IMO, he is the perfect compliment, because not only can he block shots and rebound, but he can also stretch the floor, whereas Monroe is strictly an inside scorer. So they would make a nice inside-out tandem, while both of them can rebound effectively.

    Ideally, I would like a bigger talent than a 2nd round pick to be Monroe’s frontcourt mate, but we need upgrades at every position. So I say take the best available at 7, and then come back with Benson in the 2nd. Even if we land a better big at 7, Benson would make a great 3rd big man in that rotation.

    • Apr 6, 20114:29 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      The difference is Henson is 20 and still growing, which means he could fill out significantly (Look at Tyson Chandler when he entered the league vs. what he looked like after a couple years of NBA weight training). Benson is 23 and probably is what he is body-type wise.

  • Apr 7, 20111:36 pm
    by Matt


    I have watched the footage on Kanter, and I believe of all the big men who will actually be in the draft, he would be the best. However, we would have to trade up to get him. Perhaps our 7 or 8 pick and sign/trade Stuckey. Although, this is a dream because Joe LOVES Stuckey for no apparent reason other than Joe drafted him.
    Kanter and Monroe could post both blocks and finally give the team an identity. Low Post team. This would open up shots for Gordon and RIP because both big pass well. Just a thought. Thank you Patrick for the updates!

    • Apr 8, 20111:42 am
      by Tom Y.


      Kanter’s been my favorite choice for a while, but I’m more worried now that sitting for most of the last year or two may have hurt his development.
      Also, I doubt we’d have to trade up, he’s currently projected 8th on draftexpress and we’re likely going 7th. He was ranked higher a couple of months ago but not playing this year has hurt his stock.

  • Apr 8, 20111:36 am
    by Tom Y.


    I just read about Bismack Biyombo on Draftexpress – an 18 year old PF/C with great athleticism, wingspan and motor. He’s playing in the Nike Hoops Summit. Draftexpress has him going num. 18 for now so I don’t know that he’s in our range but would be interesting to have a draft dreams piece on him – sounds like a good compement to Monroe.

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