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

"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."