Here’s a fun fact about Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson: he was drafted by the Bucks in 2011, and played in their summer league. In fact, he even played the same summer league that Giannis Antetokounmpo did back in 2013. Then he was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats in the deal that brought Ben Gordon and Gerald Wallace to Milwaukee. But in 2017, he was waived by the Bobcats and was out of the league by the end of the season. And in 2018, he was waived by the Bucks.
The Bucks have a lot of talent, and the team has a lot of needs. In 2016, the Bucks drafted two future All-Stars in Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker. This season, they selected a future All-Star in Thon Maker. In 2017, they drafted a future All-Star in Donte DiVincenzo. Last season, they drafted a future All-Star in Antetokounmpo. This season, the Bucks drafted a future All-Star in Maker’s twin brother, a lot to live up to. But, if you pay attention to the Bucks, you’ve probably noticed a theme: a lot of their players were drafted in the draft, and they’ve yet to live up to
Milwaukee Bucks lottery pick John Henson (No. 8 overall) has gone from starting alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo (last year’s No. 5 overall) to out of the League by 30. This is the exact opposite of what any NBA GM would want happen.. Read more about giannis antetokounmpo draft and let us know what you think.
The Milwaukee Bucks are still rejoicing after winning the NBA Finals for the first time in 50 years. Two All-Stars, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, who both joined the Bucks in 2013, were instrumental in their win.
Giannis and Middleton have long been the cornerstones of Milwaukee’s championship core. But the Bucks had another long-term player in mind: John Henson, a 30-year-old free agent who watched his former colleagues win a championship without him.
As a part of the Milwaukee Bucks’ youthful core, John Henson developed into an outstanding shot-blocker.
Henson’s game could be described in one word when he first entered the NBA: defense. The 6-foot-9 big man was a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year winner during his three years at North Carolina. In 2012, he was awarded First-Team All-ACC and finished his career as the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in blocks per game (2.56).
The Bucks had the 14th overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft after going 31-35 the year before. They selected Henson, who only played 13.1 minutes per game in his first season. By the conclusion of the season, he had started a few games and taken advantage of them, the greatest of which was a 17-point, 25-rebound, and seven-block performance.
Henson’s minutes quadrupled in his second year, which was Antetokounmpo’s rookie year and Middleton’s first year in Milwaukee. In 26.5 minutes, the defensive specialist established career highs with 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds, as well as 11 double-doubles. If there was a flaw, it was that Henson’s excellent season did not result in Bucks victories.
Henson established himself as a key rim protector and shot blocker. He became the sixth Buck to average two or more blocks each season in 2014-15. (2.0). In a stretch of 20 games, the big man blocked at least one shot. His achievements were rewarded with a four-year contract for $44 million the following summer.
Zach Lowe of Grantland highlighted why Henson was so important to a youthful Bucks team in 2015:
“[Head coach Jason] Kidd has transformed Henson into what the Bucks wished [Larry] Sanders could be: a Tyson Chandler/Andre Drummond/Mason Plumlee–style big who sets picks, dives to the basket, dunks lob passes, and draws defenders away from Milwaukee shooters around the arc.”
Henson was in the starting lineup with Antetokounmpo when he turned into the Greek Freak. In 2017-18, the former Tar Heel played 26 minutes per game on average, averaging just under nine points, seven rebounds, and a half-block. Henson got along swimmingly with Giannis and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks, who completed the season with their highest winning percentage (.537) since the 2009-10 season.
Injuries ruined Henson’s career, forcing him to leave the Bucks.
John Henson #31 was once a promising young player for the Milwaukee Bucks, sprinting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo #34. | Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Henson has struggled to keep healthy since he first joined the league. In his first six seasons, he never played less than 57 games and never more than 76.
However, Henson’s Bucks stint, as well as his NBA career as a whole, came to an end in the 2018-19 season.
Henson tore his left wrist ligament against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 6, 2018. He tried to play through it for approximately a week, but season-ending surgery was required shortly after. It was his last appearance in a Milwaukee Bucks jersey.
Henson was moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 7, less than a month after having surgery, in a multi-player transaction that brought veteran George Hill to Milwaukee. On October 26, 2019, the center made his Cavaliers debut, scoring three points in little over eight minutes. He injured his hamstring, though, and was forced to sit out for another six weeks.
Henson returned in early December, but he was on the road again by February. The oft-injured big man was traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Andre Drummond after 14 months and just 29 games with the Cavs. Before becoming an unrestricted free agent, he made six starts and appeared in 11 games with the Detroit Lions.
Henson’s NBA career may be coming to an end at the age of 30.
Henson’s sole NBA experience since leaving Detroit was a 10-day deal with the New York Knicks in April. However, he strained his calf during a practice and never played in a game, as has been the case in the past.
Henson’s downward spiral may be attributed to a number of factors. Obviously, there are the injuries, particularly the lingering ones that have kept him from making a genuine return attempt. But, like shot-blocking centers like Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, his poor offensive skill set has maintained his value at an all-time low.
Henson was reportedly described by former Milwaukee general manager John Hammond as “the type of player you want in your organization for a long time.” Henson is now willing to accept any amount of time.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided contract numbers.
Jason Kidd (Jason Kidd) (Jason Kidd) (Jason Former Bucks player blasts Giannis Antetokounmpo’s biography, saying, “I don’t think he’s a bad person, but…”
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