John Henson is entering his 7th season in Milwaukee. He’s spent most of them leaving Buck’s fans wanting more however. John has showed glimpses in his career but has never really put it all together. There’s been plenty of rumors that the Bucks are trying to unload him and his salary. At some point there will be no more waiting. The clock will eventually strike 12 and he will be gone if he doesn’t improve.
John spent most of last season as the team’s starting center. Henson shot a career high 57.2% from the field last year. He also averaged almost 9 points per game. He’s always been a good rim protector and that didn’t change last year. Averaging 2.66 blocks per 48 minutes. Added with his athleticism and rim-running ability made him an easy choice to run with the starters.
However, he had his share of struggles. After sending big-bodied center Greg Monroe to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe trade. Henson was clearly overmatched at times and was easily bullied inside. This forced the Bucks hand as they went out and made a deal for Tyler Zeller mid-season in hopes to solve this problem at least a bit. His 2017-2018 season ended poorly as he fell completely out of the rotation in the playoffs and spent the conclusion of the season as a spectator.
Areas of Improvement:
The first area that John needs to improve is his physicality. He’s not going to come into the season and suddenly look like he would be able to play in the 80’s, but he does need to prove he can hang with a big bodied center. He needs to prove he can also hang tough and get some “man’s” rebounds. The blocked shots are important, but limiting offensive rebounds is more important.
It would be a huge boost if he could add something offensively. In the pre-season he’s messed around with shooting 3’s. This could create havoc on opposing defenses if you need to follow him out to the perimeter and respect his shooting. Now no one should expect him to be a sniper, but if he can make a couple it would spell trouble for others.
Projected Role: Backup Center
Unlike last year John will be coming off the bench. He will still have his chances of making an impact and will be asked to do what he does best. Being able to employ someone who can block a couple of shots off the bench is huge. He will give the second unit a sense of security by them knowing if a drive gets past them John will be there to clean it up. They most likely won’t be expecting much more than shot blocking and rim-running, but it’s important to keep an eye on his outside shooting and rebounding.
Projected Key Stat: Rebounds Per Game
The Bucks were a terrible rebounding team last year. They gave up too many offensive rebounds, which resulted in vast amounts of second chance points for their opponents. John averaged 12.5 rebounds per 48 minutes last year. If he can improve on that number that would be a big plus for this Buck’s team. Shot blocking may get him on the court but improving his rebounding numbers will keep him on it.
X-Factor: Field Goal Attempts Per Game
I really wanted to put 3-point percentage here, but it just didn’t feel right. John Henson was extremely efficient last year and there’s little reason to believe that changes. His offense will primarily come from finishing lob passes and his classic lefty hook. The more he shoots the more likely it is that the Bucks were able to feed him for easy buckets.