SLAMonline Mock Draft: Xavier Henry, No. 14
Rock chalk… Jay-Hawk… KU.
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
Houston, you have a problem. No, seriously, you do.
After finally getting to the second round of the Playoffs last season after years of first round exits, the Houston Rockets didn’t make the NBA Playoffs at all this season.
Daryl Morey, widely considered to be the League’s thinking man GM, swapped Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza, parted ways with über hustle man Carl Landry in exchange for Kevin Martin and his un-textbook J and somehow found a way to unload the picture of underachievement, T-Mac, without having to sell his soul or take on the overpriced services of the Hardwood Hamburglar, Eddy Curry. I’m telling you, Morey has me convinced that he was that kid in the lunchroom in grade school who could trade his applesauce for two Twinkles, a sleeve of Pringles, a Capri Sun and a mint condition rookie Mickey Mantle card while making the other kid feel as though he came out aces in the transaction.
The feces hit the fan for Morey, though, when Yao Ming came up lame and had to miss the entire season due to his recurring foot injuries. As a result, the Rockets had to rely on their scrappy power and were eventually left to scurry for remnants of respectability instead of vying for a Playoff berth. With their up-and-down season, the Rockets looked more like a basketball version of those kids from The Sandlot than championship contenders.
The smart money is on Morey finding a way to crash this summer’s free agency “summit” and landing a golden nugget like Chris Bosh. And a betting man would do well to wager that Morey’ll deal the 14th pick before, during or after the Draft. Heck, he might even Three-Card Monte David Stern for a better pick backstage. But for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll stick to the syllabus and choose from the approved list of incoming rooks. And since Donatas Motiejunas showed some hubris by withdrawing from the dance, I had to jump out the foreign and ride domestic. Sooooooooo…
With the 14th pick of the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Houston Rockets select…
Xavier Henry from the University of Kansas.
There are those who would err toward “upside” and “potential” when faced with the daunting task of drafting outside of the lottery and draft a kid like Marshall’s 7-footer Hassan Whiteside, who is basically a poor man’s, nah, a homeless man’s DeAndre Jordan. Whiteside is so raw he’s sushi before they slice it with a Ginsu raw. To me, drafting for talent “intrigue” is the equivalent of wishing in one hand and defecating in the other. Guess which one fills up first? For me, it’s all about choosing the best available player on the board and who, my friends, is the latest stud to make ‘em yell, “Rock Chalk Jayhawk,” Xavier Henry.
As Kansas’ first one-and-done player, Henry enters the Draft in the nether regions of the mock draft boards after having a serviceable yet unremarkable frosh campaign in Lawrence. But even though GMs only have eyes for John Wall, the 6-6 shooting guard from Oklahoma City, Okla. has an NBA-ready body and can contribute to the Rockets’ red glare from day one–guard your grill, knuckle up Ariza. Don’t let the paltry 14 ppg and 4 rpg fool you. This prolific scorer (averaged 28 points per contest in high school) has the “Dim Mak” deadly touch from the outside and has tremendous range. Think a lefty version of Eric Gordon. Most southpaws like Henry have “crafty” moves that allow them to easily attack the rim and get to the cup with aplomb because defenders are consistently caught off balance by the players who repeatedly go to their left. Henry is also wet from the charity stripe and has a strong foundation on the defensive side of the ball that can be molded to perfection in the right system. Very coachable, this two-guard works hard, fills up the stat sheet and isn’t afraid of taking the big shot.
The rub against Henry is that he’s not an elite athlete and doesn’t have Russell Westbrook hops or Rajon Rondo-type speed. His handles need work like Mike Brown and his offensive repertoire tends to be too predictable, but these are some of the same gripes “experts” had when Eric Gordon was making is leap to the L and with his stellar play in Clipper-land, he’s made a lot of so-called pundits eat their words. Overall, Henry is a five-finger discount at 14th and just may put himself on to the All-Rookie team by the season’s end if Rick Adelman doesn’t try to stymie his development as the season rolls on.
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|