John Henson had a monster game against the Miami Heat the day before Thanksgiving. He scored 17 points and grabbed 18 rebounds off the bench, the first rookie to put up such gaudy numbers while coming off the bench. Scott Skiles said he’d earned an opportunity for more minutes with his activity around the rim and on the glass.
But Henson played only one minute against the Chicago Bulls three days later, despite Skiles keeping center Samuel Dalembert on the bench for the entire game.
“It sucks, man. It sucks,” Henson said. “It happens; life of a rookie. I’ll be all right.
Skiles opted for 30 minutes of Ersan Ilyasova, the struggling power forward working to pull himself out of a hole of early season struggles. Veteran center Joel Przybilla even saw 17 minutes of action in his first start of the season. Neither Ilyasova or Przybilla did much to keep the Bulls off the glass, as the Bucks gave up a season high 20 offensive rebounds.
Henson’s minutes have been sporadic through the first 11 games of his NBA career. He’s played in six, but only three times over 10 minutes. The 27 minutes he played in Miami that led to his impressive final totals came on the heels of a 14 minute effort in Charlotte in which he grabbed three rebounds and scored six points. In a crowded Bucks front court, it’s been difficult for anyone to establish much consistency as far as minutes have gone, with even the impressive Larry Sanders seeing fluctuations in minutes thanks to his erratic fouling habits and ejection in Miami.
Despite the inconsistent playing time, Henson has impressed. In David Thorpe’s most recent piece on rookies this season, he took time out to recognize Henson’s impressive performance in Miami:
Forget about his 17-point, 18-rebound effort against the world champs as being some kind of lucky game. A lucky game is when a guy makes a bunch of shots that he normally misses. Sure, Henson made a few pick-and-pop jumpers, but he looked good making them and should only improve that aspect of his game year after year.