UPDATE: Ignore this post. Bucks traded down. More coming soon.
Rumors are flying that the Milwaukee Bucks are attempting to trade up to acquire the moderately raw John Henson in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Gery Woelfel reported as much on Monday. Alex Kennedy followed up with the same report Tuesday. All this despite John Hammond doing everything but completely ruling out a trade of the Bucks’ number 12 pick earlier in the day on Monday.
“Once again, it comes back to what is the right thing to do for this organization. If that’s the case, we would do it (a trade). But I don’t foresee that happening.”
Everyone knows everything and nothing all at once. Rumor has it that if you throw out enough scenarios, one will come true.
But rumors during draft week are inevitable, though it’s remarkable how seemingly out of nowhere each of the last few draft day deals the Bucks have pulled off have come. Despite the non-stop reporting and re-reporting of possible scenarios over the past few years, no one really saw the Richard Jefferson or Stephen Jackson trades coming. And aside from Larry Sanders, the Bucks picks over the past few years have been equally as hard to nail down.
With a draft that’s even more unpredictable than the last two, we’re seeing even more draft day scenarios being floated this season, with the John Henson scenario starting to gain some steam. I’ve come out as an avid Terrence Ross/Jeremy Lamb supporter, but many favor the long, lanky defensive minded power (I use that term loosely) forward Henson out of North Carolina.
The 6-foot-10 Henson, despite weighing in at just 216 pounds, has turned himself into an intriguing prospect.
According to DraftExpress, Henson excels at running the floor and doing generally athletic big man type things. Your instinct may be to immediately associate him with Larry Sanders, but there’s at least one notable difference in this snippet I pulled from DX alone:
Henson’s combination of coordination, length, athleticism, hands, and ability to finish with finesse and power make him extremely dangerous operating on cuts and pick-and-rolls, both of which could be utilized even more effectively than they are now in the right system at the next level.
Oh the hands. Sanders has notoriously struggled to catch passes and corral difficult rebounds thanks to his mysteriously poor hands. We’ve lauded that deficiency more times than we can count over the past two seasons. Combine Henson’s supposedly stronger ability to catch a basketball with his having played the game and superior rebounding rate against superior college competition and we start to see that if the Bucks select Henson, Ekpe Udoh may not be the only player Larry Sanders would need to worry about stealing some of his minutes.
Which brings me back to my “moderately raw” comment I made about Henson earlier. It wouldn’t be right to call him raw and just leave it at that. Not after we watched Sanders over the past couple of seasons. Not that I think Sanders has been a negative, I think he’s been just fine for what he is. But Sanders was raw. Very raw. He’s spent the majority of his first two seasons trying to figure out where he’s supposed to be on the court so that his instincts could take over and let him do the things he does best. Understanding what is happening and why it’s happening out there is what allows players to act natural and just play.
It’s taking Sanders a long time to get there and having a lockout remove training camp, summer league and the first quarter of his second season did him no favors in that regard. Henson might not be polished offensively, but it sure sounds to me like he has a better feel for the game at this stage in his life than Larry Sanders did. Perhaps that will give him a leg up on picking things up on the court, which will in turn allow him to put to use his incredible length and athleticism for good on both ends.
Taking John Henson is a lot different than taking Larry Sanders. But who knows if that will happen anyway. It’s possible I’ve concocted this entire post and in 10 minutes I’ll see that the Bucks have made a promise to Terrence Ross or that they’ve moved down to get Fab Melo. The draft, more than ever, is unpredictable, which I suppose is a nice vacation from the realities of the actual season.
Regardless of what the Bucks end up doing, I say sit back and enjoy how things play out over the next two days and hope for the best.
It’s all we can do.