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Phoenix Suns NBA Draft Series: John Henson, PF, North Carolina


With the NBA Draft fast approaching on June 28, we at Bright Side of the Sun want to cover all the bases regarding the possible players who the Suns could draft with the #13th pick.

Depending on the decisions the Suns make in free agency this season, nearly every position could be considered an area of need.

Being that this is considered the most talented draft in recent years, there will likely be several very good players left on the board when it's time for the Suns to make their selection--and they'll likely have a very tough decision to make as to which player they think will be the best fit for this organization.

Although the Suns already drafted PF Markieff Morris with the 13th pick last season, the Suns still have yet to find that interior presence they have been searching for from the power forward position.

More on that later, for now let's look at one of the most likely candidates that the Suns could draft this season if they chose to take another power forward with the 13th pick this year...John Henson

John Henson is a 6'10.5", 216 lb junior PF from the University of North Carolina who is known for his tremendously long arms and shot blocking/rebounding ability.

Henson led the ACC in blocked shots this season averaging 2.9 blocks per game to go along with his 9.9 rebounds and 13.7 points.

John Henson measured out with an incredible 7'5" wingspan at the pre-draft combine measurements yesterday, and an astounding 9'3.5" standing reach...tying the highest recorded in this years' combine measurements along with Kyle O'Quinn, even including centers (Anthony Davis did not attend). And if those measurables alone aren't enough to pique your interest, Henson combines his freakishly long frame with excellent athleticism, a very high motor, great defensive instincts, and great character as well.

However, as with almost all players in this draft, there are some concerns as well. One needs only to look at Henson to immediately notice the most obvious issue...He still needs to add considerable size and strength to his very long and lanky frame to play with the big boys at the next level. The only other real knock on Henson is his limited perimeter shooting ability. But with everything he provides inside on both ends of the floor, I wouldn't be overly concerned with this aspect of his game.

So would Henson be the right player for the Suns to take with the 13th pick in the draft? Read on after the jump for a closer look.

Here are the stats from Henson's three seasons at UNC:

Basic Statistics

Year Min Pts FG FGA FG% 3Pt 3PtA 3P% FTM FTA FT% Off Def TOT Asts Stls Blks TOs PFs
2009/10 15.8 5.7 2.4 4.9 48.6 0.1 0.5 22.2 0.9 2.0 43.8 1.6 2.8 4.4 0.9 0.7 1.6 1.2 1.1
2010/11 26.7 11.7 4.9 9.8 50.0 0.0 0.2 16.7 1.8 3.8 47.9 3.2 6.9 10.1 0.8 0.6 3.2 2.1 1.8
2011/12 29.1 13.7 5.9 11.7 50.0 0.0 0.0 2.0 3.9 51.1 2.5 7.4 9.9 1.3 0.6 2.9 1.3 1.6

Efficiency Statistics

Player Info Shooting Ratios Passing Ratios Defensive Ratios
Year Min PTs/g FGA/g Pts/Play TS% eFG% FTA/FGA 3PA/FGA Ast/g Ast/FGA A/TO PPR BK/g STL/g PF/g
2009/10 15.8 5.7 4.9 0.81 0.49 0.50 0.40 0.10 0.9 0.19 0.76 -3.85 1.6 0.7 1.1
2010/11 26.7 11.7 9.8 0.85 0.50 0.50 0.39 0.02 0.8 0.08 0.39 -5.68 3.2 0.6 1.8
2011/12 29.1 13.7 11.7 0.92 0.51 0.50 0.33 0.00 1.3 0.11 0.98 -1.57 2.9 0.6 1.6

Usage Statistics

Player Info Complete Metrics Possession Info Possession Ratios
Year Min PER EFF EFF/40 WS/40 Pos/g Tm Pos/g % Tm Pos Pts/Pos FGA/Pos FTA/Pos Ast/Pos TO/Pos
2009/10 15.8 20.7 8.5 21.6 11.4 6.0 73.0 8.3 0.95 0.81 0.33 0.15 0.20
2010/11 26.7 23.7 17.4 26.1 14.5 11.8 72.9 16.2 0.99 0.83 0.33 0.07 0.17
2011/12 29.1 24.7 19.3 26.5 14.5 12.5 72.9 17.1 1.10 0.94 0.31 0.10 0.10

Looking at these stats it's easy to see Henson's greatest strengths. His shot blocking and rebounding is outstanding, and he is also a very efficient scorer--mainly because he is aware of his limitations as a jump shooter and prefers to stick to his strengths in scoring around the rim.

Henson has worked on his post game over the last three years at North Carolina and has certainly developed some nice moves in the low post including a nice hook shot. He uses good fundamentals and footwork to help compliment his length and athletic ability, and he seems to have good balance, body control, and coordination as well. The one area of Henson's game I was surprised we didn't see more of was in the pick and roll. North Carolina used Henson very little in this respect but this could be a real strength for him at the next level given his length, athleticism, and agility.

However, despite his very respectable 13.7 point per game average this season, his offensive skill set overall still remains rather raw. Henson has done a very nice job at progressing with each season at UNC in this respect though, so it is very likely he will continue to do so in the NBA as well.

For now, Henson is mainly regarded as a defensive/rebounding prospect at the power forward position, which just happens to be an area of need for the Suns. Rookie power forward Markieff Morris did a fairly respectable job on the boards for the Suns last season, but his defense and interior scoring still left a lot to be desired. This is why I believe there is a chance the Suns could be looking to complement Morris with yet another rookie power forward like Henson.

Henson would give the Suns much of what they've been lacking in their interior defense and rebounding, while providing the Suns with yet another big man who runs the floor extremely well and shows great potential for the pick and roll. This would also allow the Suns the versatility to move Channing Frye back to reserve center position if re-signing Robin Lopez becomes too expensive.

Many mock drafts have John Henson going as high as the 9th pick to Detroit, and while many would consider him a top ten talent, the depth of this draft makes it possible that he could slip down to the bottom of the lottery depending on the needs of the teams and the players available. If Henson were to fall to the Suns, would Phoenix be smart to take him as possibly the best player available? Or should the Suns focus on more immediate needs like shooting guard, point guard, or small forward?

In my opinion, Henson could be just what the doctor ordered for the Suns to get taller, longer, and more defensively oriented. Because of Henson's unique physical attributes, skill set, solid character, and work ethic, there is very little chance for him to be a bust in the NBA--so this can also be seen as a relatively safe pick that also has a chance to pay off in spades. If Henson remains on the board when the Suns draft at #13, I believe he would be very hard for the Suns to pass up.

*All stats provided by

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