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  1. #1
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    Post ESPN: John Henson

    John Henson, Bucks

    I always get a laugh when I read how a college prospect must gain weight and strength to be able to compete in the NBA. Suggesting that means you are not watching NBA games, where quick whistles and a much more open game allow thin players to excel far more than they could in college. Plus, all players get stronger even if they don't put on weight, which they almost always do.

    Henson is likely the thinnest and weakest power forward in the league right now. Here is how badly that has hurt him: He had 17 points and 18 rebounds in a tough loss to the Heat on Nov. 21; and he put up 10 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes against Minnesota's powerful front line on Nov. 30.

    But then Scott Skiles decided to cut his minutes (which he did throughout November and December), just one of the many decisions that may have cost him his job. Then, Skiles was probably told to put Henson back into the rotation to see what the Bucks had in their lottery pick, and now the rookie is averaging 10.8 points and 10.8 rebounds with 1.5 blocks and almost a steal per game in 2013, all in less than 24 minutes per game.

    It is absolutely true that Henson needs to get stronger if he wants to help his team win. He fouls a lot, largely due to constantly being put in a position of weakness. But he has the look of a player who is going to see tremendous improvement as he matures.

    One issue he can work on is not depending so much on his enormously long arms to contest shots, but focusing instead on moving his feet to cut off the offensive player's angle. Henson is very nimble for his size, but when he relies on his wingspan he is not taking advantage of his athletic gifts.
    espn

  2. #2
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    Pretty good article.

    Henson is able to score, block shots, and rebound, but he has plenty of struggles on the defensive end as well. He absolutely needs to bulk up.

    Those aren't his season stats. I don't know exactly what they are. But I do know that in his last 7 games, he's played about 21 MPG, and is averaging 12 points, 9 rebounds, and over a block a game.

    He and Sanders both need to get stronger, and smarter on the defensive end. If both can make the improvements, I think they will be the starting front line next season and both play around 30 minutes per game. If they can do that, I expect their numbers next season to be something like

    Henson- 14 PPG, 11 RPG, 2 BPG
    Sanders- 10 PPG, 11 RPG, 3 BPG

    That's a pretty awesome front line. The biggest question will be if they can stay out of foul trouble and not get outmuscled.

  3. #3
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    Henson has been better than expected, but they both do need to get stronger. I have watched games, and the lack of strength for both Sanders and Henson is hurting us at times, especially against the physical teams like the Bulls. Guys can just ride those two underneath the hoop.

    The more I think about it, the more ideal it would be if Ersan could be more of a banger on defense too. While he isn't a great one on one defender, it would be nice if he could be the strength guy to keep someone like a Joakim Noah off the glass while Henson and Sanders can play the Boozer types who they can contest shots on.

    The more I think about it, the more I'm warming up to a nice 3 man rotation of Ersan, Henson and Sanders all getting solid minutes at the bigs spots. Henson has a nice post up game and Ersan can stretch the floor with the 3. They all hustle on the glass too. I know there's not a lot of Ersan fans in here, but his ability to stretch the floor with his size is a great addition to the team, especially if he can play alongside shot blockers like Sanders and Henson have the ability to be.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crewfan13 View Post
    Henson has been better than expected, but they both do need to get stronger. I have watched games, and the lack of strength for both Sanders and Henson is hurting us at times, especially against the physical teams like the Bulls. Guys can just ride those two underneath the hoop.

    The more I think about it, the more ideal it would be if Ersan could be more of a banger on defense too. While he isn't a great one on one defender, it would be nice if he could be the strength guy to keep someone like a Joakim Noah off the glass while Henson and Sanders can play the Boozer types who they can contest shots on.

    The more I think about it, the more I'm warming up to a nice 3 man rotation of Ersan, Henson and Sanders all getting solid minutes at the bigs spots. Henson has a nice post up game and Ersan can stretch the floor with the 3. They all hustle on the glass too. I know there's not a lot of Ersan fans in here, but his ability to stretch the floor with his size is a great addition to the team, especially if he can play alongside shot blockers like Sanders and Henson have the ability to be.
    I agree with everything in that post. I would still be in favor of trading Ersan for cap flexibility if possible, but if not, I think the three of them could be a very nice post rotation for the next few years.

    All three could stand to add muscle. Sanders and Henson are good HELP defenders, but they give up a lot of buckets to the guys they are guarding. I mean, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson both put up 20 on them the other night. That's not a strength issue though, as those guys are even smaller I think. It's more just positional defense to a large degree, but strength is an issue at times as well.

  5. #5
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    Job 1 for new Milwaukee Bucks coach Jim Boylan after he took over last week was to reshuffle the playing rotation.

    And in large measure that meant resolving the power forward situation.

    An unhappy Ersan Ilyasova was coming off the bench. Rookie John Henson was playing in spurts but not getting regular minutes.

    It's clear now there was a divide between Bucks management and former coach Scott Skiles on both counts.

    Ilyasova was awarded a four-year, $32 million contract during the off-season and the Bucks were seeing little immediate payoff on their investment. And the 6-foot-11 Henson, picked 14th overall in the June draft, was still a bit of a mystery.

    After four games under Boylan, both players are settling into more certain roles.

    And it was Henson who provided 19 points and six rebounds in a solid performance off the bench Sunday to help the Bucks rally for a 107-96 road victory over the Toronto Raptors.

    Next up is an even bigger test against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday night. Yes, the struggling Lakers have lost six of their last seven games, but center Dwight Howard returned from a shoulder injury in a 113-93 rout of Cleveland on Sunday night.

    Boylan joked after the Bucks' victory in Toronto that he will be tested while watching Henson go through the learning process.

    "John's a funny player," Boylan said. "He's got two or three good plays and a couple bad plays. I don't have much hair left, but whatever it is, it's probably going to be coming out soon.

    "As a coach you tend to hone in on certain things, so those were the groaning moments. But I see what he brings to the table. He's a young kid that doesn't understand the whole league, hasn't been through the whole league yet.

    "As that happens and he starts to learn his game a little bit better, we're hoping he finds his sweet spot on offense.

    "And defensively, it's just awareness and being alert. He gets caught off guard every once in a while by a screen or whatever it is. We'll work with him on that and we have confidence he's going to improve in those areas."

    It doesn't hurt to have veterans around who know the game. Bucks forward Mike Dunleavy is establishing a connection with Henson when the two are on the floor together.

    If Dunleavy draws the defense, he has the ability to find Henson near the rim, where the big man can convert with short hook shots and by using his right or left hand.

    "He makes it easy with the way teams jump out on our pick-and-rolls or our screens," Dunleavy said. "John can finish."

    It's a Duke-North Carolina combination that has potential to continue.

    "He (Dunleavy) is such a good shooter that everybody jumps out on him," Henson said. "So you've just got to roll to the rim and be ready to finish for him.

    "That will help him out and get him open for shots."

    Ilyasova has prospered, too, since the coaching change was made one week ago.

    He said he wasn't worried about starting but that he needed the minutes to gain some consistency. Since Boylan has taken over, Ilyasova has started every game and averaged 26.5 minutes while contributing 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.

    Ilyasova battled foul trouble Sunday and had nine points and five rebounds in 26 minutes against the Raptors.

    "This past summer we made a commitment to Ersan," Boylan said. "We have to make sure we give him the support and the confidence, give him the minutes he deserves.

    "He's a good player and he just has to relax and play his game. When he does that, he helps us a lot."

    Ilyasova can be the "stretch 4" that is the rage in the NBA, a 6-10 player who can shoot the three-pointer but also get some baskets in the paint. He also is capable on the boards as he showed with a 25-rebound game last season against the Nets.

    "Ersan's not a super-athlete," Boylan said. "He's one of those guys who gets his hand on the ball and tips it around to himself.

    "But that takes a lot of effort and that's what he does. On the offensive end he can shoot the ball. Defensively, his effort has to be high."

    Jennings honored again: Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings was named the Eastern Conference player of the week for the last four games, all played under Boylan.

    Jennings averaged 24.5 points and 6.5 assists while shooting 47.7% overall and 50% from three-point range while leading the Bucks to a 3-1 record.

    The award is the third of Jennings' career and his second this season.

    Monta Ellis also has a player of the week honor this season, giving the Bucks three such honors and tying them with Miami (LeBron James with three) and Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant with three) for most by a team in the league this season.
    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks...186890602.html

  6. #6
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    I knew this kid was going to be a good player when we drafted him. He is a high character guy and he doesn't seemed fazed by playing in Milwaukee which is somewhat of a relief for me as a fan.
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