John Henson, No. 9 (Mock)
The Pistons give Greg Monroe a little help down low.
by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
It’s all about baby steps for the Detroit Pistons. Their win percentage last year rose from .366 to .379. It’s nothing worth bragging about, but it is, without a doubt, an improvement.
A roster that was filled with veterans from title runs just a few years ago is now adding quality young players to the mix.
First and foremost, Detroit has a budding star down in the paint. In his second season, Greg Monroe averaged 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. At just 22 years old, he seems poised to develop into one of the better centers in the NBA.
Helping his development was rookie point guard Brandon Knight. The latest Calipari-point guard to hit the NBA averaged 12.8 ppg and 3.8 assists per game in his first season. With more weapons on offense, those assists likely would have been higher.
While a scorer is what the Pistons need to add to the mix, having Monroe, Knight and Rodney Stuckey entrenched as starters limits the open positions to small forward and power forward. At No. 9, offensive-first players at those positions are off the board.
So instead, the Pistons will go back to their roots with and select another quality defender who should thrive in Detroit.
With the ninth pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…
John Henson from North Carolina.
What the Pistons will get in Henson is an NBA-ready defender, who is an improving offensive player. He likely won’t score in double-figures in his first year in the League, but Henson can slide in next to Monroe and be the perfect complementary post player for him.
As good as Monroe is offensively, he still is finding his way defensively. Despite being 6-11, he has yet to solidify himself as a shot-blocking presence (he averaged just 0.7 blocks per game last season).
Henson, on the other hand, has always been known for his defense. He swatted over 100 shots in each of his last two seasons. He’s also more athletic than Monroe and should excite the Detroit crowd with some dunks and alley-oops.
The offensive potential is there, as well. After being thought off as just a defender in his first two years at Chapel Hill, he averaged 13.7 ppg as a junior and shot 50 percent from the field.
The upside for Henson is that he will become another version of Serge Ibaka. He can be a player who is a game-changer defensively and competent enough on the offensive end that you have to guard him.
On the flip side, he could be another Ekpe Udoh, who will block some shots but do little else while he’s on the court.
If Henson pans out, he’s the type of player who winning teams need. He’s a piece for Detroit, just like Knight, Monroe and Stuckey, and when you have enough good players, good things begin to happen.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|