If you’re wondering what’s with the question mark in the title, it’s because up until Friday, I had no intention of including John Henson in our group of 10 potential Raptors draft targets. With a lot of people (including me) believing that there is already barely enough room on this roster for both Amir Johnson and Ed Davis, I figured the only way the Raptors would draft a power forward would be if it was Perry Jones III or Terrence Jones, because both could play small forward.
But alas, on Friday night Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reported that Toronto might be eyeing Henson with the No. 8 pick, and stated that “multiple team sources” said they were “impressed” with the UNC big man’s workout for the Raptors on Thursday.
In addition, I originally intended UNC swingman Harrison Barnes to be a part of this group of 10, but it’s become painfully obvious that unfortunately, Barnes probably won’t be available for Toronto at No. 8. I assume he’ll go No. 4 to Cleveland, I think there’s a chance he goes No. 2 to Charlotte, and I don’t think there’s a chance in hell Barnes slips past the top-six or top-seven at absolute worst.
So without further ado, after one last minute swap, here’s the 10th and last in our series of RaptorBlog Draft Profiles.
John Henson – PF – 6’10, 216 lbs.
Henson is an athletic big man who uses his length to his advantage and works his butt off on the court. He’s an exceptional shot-blocker and rebounder who can become a valuable defensive specialist in the NBA.
While the terms is used loosely and is often mocked, Henson has a “high basketball IQ,” especially on the defensive end, and displays good basketball fundamentals. He’s an all around defensive standout, including being defensively sound in pick and roll coverages and on the perimeter. He’s also versatile enough defensively to handle pick-and-roll switches that leave him against guards on the perimeter.
Like most of the prospects we’ve covered, Henson is going to have to add some bulk and overall strength to compete at the highest level in the NBA, but the real weakness in his game, and what he needs to develop the most is his offensive repertoire.
While he has developed a decent post game, Henson has very limited range on what is an inconsistent jump-shot and is painfully inept at the free throw line, as his measly 51.1 per cent success rate at the charity stripe this past season was a career-high for him in his three years at UNC. If his on-court work ethic is any indication, I don’t doubt that Henson will work to improve his offensive game, but if you’re thinking of drafting John Henson right now, it better be for his defensive impact and ability, not for a sketchy offensive potential that might never be.
While I am a proponent of the “draft the best player available and make moves as you need to later” theory, there’s no doubt that there’s already a logjam at the four-spot in Toronto and Henson seems to be almost an exact duplicate of Ed Davis. They’re both 6’10 power forwards from UNC who have some very intriguing defensive potential and very limited offensive games. Checking their college stats is almost scary, as Davis averaged about 13 points, 10 rebounds and nearly three blocks in roughly 28 minutes per game as a sophomore. Henson averaged about 12, 10 and three in around 27 minutes.
The difference, of course, is that Davis is further along on the learning curve, and I’ve already stated in the past that I’d like to see Ed get more of a chance in T.O., so drafting Henson wouldn’t really do much for me. If the Raptors don’t surprise us with this pick, then don’t be surprised if Henson’s name is called immediately following the Raptors’ selection, to Detroit at No. 9.