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Three Bs: John Henson

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Brew Hoop’s entirely subjective and emotionally-driven 2017-18 Milwaukee Bucks season player evaluations. For this series, we wanted to look at each current Buck and ask three questions: what they do that helps (Boon), what they do that hurts (Bane), and whether they ought to be on this team (Belonging).

I had a cool logo featuring a trio of Bs, but got a “cease and desist” notice from a lawyer wearing $200 flip flops. Oh well. Today, we’re looking at Chipotle connoisseur John Henson, the longest-tenured Buck on the roster.

Season Stats (per 36 minutes – rank at position)

  • Points/36: 12.2 (67th among centers)
  • Rebounds/36: 9.4 (64th among centers)
  • Blocks/36: 2.0 (24th among centers)
  • FG%: 0.572 (28th among centers)

Henson’s Boon: Closing Down the Rim

When he was drafted back in 2012, many fans compared the measurables of Henson and top pick Anthony Davis. Nobody expected Henson to achieve the same level of stardom as The Brow, but the hope was always that the skinny draftee from North Carolina would have a comparable impact on defense by swatting shots away from the basket. For his career, Henson has routinely ranked near the top of the league in blocks (top-25 this season in blocks per 36 minutes), and he and Davis have had a similar effect on shots they’ve defended near the rim in 2017-18.

Henson’s Bane: Consistency

A Bucks game with Henson playing is a lot like a box of cheap chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get, but you usually end up disappointed regardless. During the first act of the season, Henson had taken back the starting role from Thon Maker, and was playing the type of engaged basketball he usually reserved only for the playoffs. But as the season wore on, Henson’s activity level waned, and he eventually found himself in another one of those general slumps that made fans question why the team extended him when they did.

Does Henson Belong?

How you feel about John Henson’s place on the roster depends greatly on your impression of Thon Maker. Henson is, for better or worse, a known quantity. He will block some shots, sling lefty hooks, and generally frustrate fans with his oft-purposeless movement and soft screens. He is actually a good player, but at a marginalized position in the modern NBA. On the other hand, Maker is still very much a project who might pan out, and if so would immediately give the team a needed strategic advantage by deploying a plus-shooter at the 5. If you’re a believer, then perhaps Captain Hook can ply his trade elsewhere. If you’re not, then you might be willing to accept what Henson has to offer, warts and all.