Rookie Impact: Bucks’ Henson Not Given His Due

This one is already in the bag.

After last night’s resounding 12-point victory in favor of the champs, this one is in the bag.

Heck, this one was in the bag after Game 1.

Even worse, this series was over before the first round best-of-seven matchup even began.

Maybe it's time to let Milwaukee's young buck John Henson throwdown (jsonline.com)

Maybe it’s time to let Milwaukee’s young buck John Henson throwdown (jsonline.com)

With that in mind, why is Milwaukee continuing to start the struggling veteran Luc Mbah a Moute over the suddenly-hot rookie John Henson?Henson, the 14th overall pick out of the University of North Carolina in the 2012 Draft, has faced his share of trials and tribulations throughout his rookie campaign. Only playing in 63 of the Bucks’ regular-season contests, Henson averaged 6.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 13.1 minutes per contest. Per 36 minutes, Henson’s numbers would inflate to 16.5 ppg and 12.9 rpg, along with 1.9 bpg.

Yet, for whatever reason, the Milwaukee brass never allowed Henson starters minutes, probably hoping that he could learn just as well from the bench as he could on the court. Another possibility is that the Bucks didn’t want to be overexposed down low due to Henson’s lack of strength (his six-foot-eleven frame only houses 220 pounds).

When actually given the minutes, though, Henson has performed exceptionally well. In 13 games in which he’s played 20 minutes or more this season, Henson averaged 13.5 ppg and 11.9 rpg.

With such high numbers, it’s a wonder that Jim Boylan hasn’t played him more, or at least for longer stretches of time.

Henson has even shown he can handle the pressures of playing against big named foes such as the Miami Heat. In his only matchup against the Heat this season with extended minutes (27 on November 21st), Henson recorded his first career double-double; 17 pts and 18 rebs on 7-of-12 shooting (3-of-4 free-throws).

Yet the Milwaukee Bucks now find themselves down two games to zero as they try to play David in taking down the next closest thing to Goliath since Jordan’s Bulls in the early nineties, and they have decided it best to start Mbah a Moute the first two games of the series. Mbah a Moute, however, is playing his absolute worst (3.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg in April) at the absolute worst time.

One could argue that Mbah a Moute provides a better physical matchup for LeBron James, as Mbah a Moute has 10 pounds more muscle than Henson (230 lbs, compared to Henson’s 220). Yet no one can deny his inability to contribute to Milwaukee’s efforts (12 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast in 62 minutes of play).

With the series shifting back to Milwaukee as the Bucks hope to salvage a moral victory in claiming at least one win this series, maybe it’s time to try something different.

Maybe it’s time for the Bucks to feature their own version of David against Goliath.

Maybe it’s time –no, it’s definitely time –to start John Henson.

For continued coverage of the NBA’s rookies, keep visiting NBA Rookie Class. Also, stay tuned as we begin to look towards the next year of rookies and the 2013 NBA Draft!

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1 thought on “Rookie Impact: Bucks’ Henson Not Given His Due

  1. Completely valid that Mbah a Moute is playing awful offensively for the Bucks. However, he’s done an awesome job guarding LeBron, specifically in the first half/3rd quarter. Their offensive production just needs to be an all-around team effort no matter who it comes from and I don’t know if Henson is necessarily going to change anything. Game 1 really only Ellis and Jennings came to score, and Ilyasova last night in Game 2 (with some decent help from Sanders) had a great outing but without much other firepower. Their only hope at this point is that they can scrum up a concentrated plan of attack to put up points to keep them in the game down the stretch. They’ve had great D and O for 3 quarters over both games, time to tie it all together or be another Heat casualty.

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