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Houston Rockets Draft Prospects: John Henson

He can block shots and rebound, but what about his offense?


In June of 2002, the Rockets made Yao Ming the 1st overall pick in the NBA draft. 10 years later, they're looking to replace the giant center who had his career ended early by injuries. If there is a Yao Ming in this draft, it's doubtful that he'll be available for the Rockets to select with the 14th overall pick. However, come hell or high water, the Rockets have to get a big man in this draft. Even if he's not the next great center, they have to get someone tall enough to protect the rim and hopefully grab 10+ rebounds per game. Outside of Samuel Dalembert, the Rockets don't have a player over 6-9 and relyingon Dalembert as your only true big is not something I want to do.

In John Henson the Rockets get a developmental project with huge upside on defense. At 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan, Henson is a great shot blocker and can really affect the opponents offensive strategy. During his 3 seasons at North Carolina, Henson averaged 2.5 blocks per game including a high mark of 3.2 during his sophomore season. Henson also rebounded well at UNC averaging 10.1 and 9.9 rebounds per game respectively over the last two seasons. However, the big question is how his game will transfer to the NBA level. Henson is the very definition of a bean pole, weighing only 216-225 pounds depending on the website you look at, and will have to add some weight and muscle to hold up in the pros. Henson came to UNC as a freshman at 180 pounds, so his frame can definitely add more weight.

His offensive game is limited, but he does have a decent jump shot out 10 feet. In the post, he's limited because of how skinny he is. Henson prefers to spin around his defender and use his speed to the baseline over backing his defender down. He does have a decent short hook shot, but he'll have to prove he's capable of getting position deep in the post in order for that shot to be effective. His post game will need the most work at the next level and has a long way to go.

On the defensive end, he's much closer to being a finished product. Until he adds some weight, he might get backed down early on in his career, but with his tremendous length, he'll still give offensive players fits trying to get their shot over him. Scouts also rave about how well he defends the pick and roll, as well as his ability to guard forwards out on the perimeter.

Mock drafts seem to be all over the place, so it's a toss up if Henson will be available. Draft Express has him going 9th to the Pistons, CBS Sportsline has him going 14th to the Rockets, Hoops Hype has Henson going 9th to the Pistons, and Hoops World has him going 12th to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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