In anticipation of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 30th, we will be profiling each of the top-10 players available in the NBA Draft from 10 to 1, discussing their strengths, weakness, and how each player could theoretically fit or not fit with the Cavaliers. For Tyler Zeller click here, and Perry Jones III click here. Below is our profile on North Carolina big man John Henson.
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No. 8 – John Henson, junior, North Carolina 2011-12: 13.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 50% shooting
John Henson intrigues me. Yet, he also screams Brandon Wright, a disappointing big man, also out of UNC, who has the same build and skill-set as Henson. But, I will take the intriguing side of Henson. Henson was an important cog in the UNC machine, as evidenced by their struggles when he was injured for three games this season. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and that is where he likely sticks out the most headed into the draft.
Henson dominated the paint for the Tar Heels. He ranked 12th in the country in blocks per game and routinely had games of four and five blocks (he opened the season with a nine block performance). Henson is also a very strong rebounder. He posted 18 double-doubles and is able to use his 6-10 frame, which is extremely long, to grab boards. He is a superb athlete; something this draft is loaded with, and has a high motor.
Offensively, he remains a slight work in progress. He has a great post game, but does not have much of a perimeter game. His athleticism allows him to finish strong around the rim and he is very much a finesse player. Another glaring weakness for Henson is his free throw shooting. He has improved his free throw shooting in each of his three seasons at UNC; raising it to 51 percent. Much like Tristan Thompson, he may not be able to on the court during crucial times, teams are smart enough to exploit those kinds of flaws.
There is one thing Henson will need to do at the next level, much like his teammate Tyler Zeller needs to do, and that is to bulk up. Henson is a slight 220 pounds and at 6-10, he may have trouble guarding some of the thicker power forwards in the NBA. He is also an intriguing option for the Cavs though. Pairing him with Thompson gives Cleveland an uber-athletic frontline. But, that leaves a lot to be desired offensively, while neither of them will provide much outside the paint.
Without much of a perimeter game, he may not make a solid choice for the Cavs. He definitely has the potential to become a threat if he can develop an outside game, but for the Cavs, I am not too sure they will be willing to wait for the payoff.