Has John Henson Earned Himself More Playing Time?

by Will Overton

There are always certain players that you really just can’t figure out why they aren’t playing more than they are. Guys who when they get a chance put up big numbers that pique fantasy owners interest, but they never seem to keep those minutes no matter what they do.

One of the more frustrating situations like this right now is John Henson in Milwaukee. Henson is a guy who has the upside to be leading the league in blocked shots, blocking 1.7 per game this season in only 16.7 MPG. Henson has the makings of being a top 100, maybe even top 50 fantasy player it seems, but we never seem to see him on the court long enough to find out.

Even with Larry Sanders sitting on the shelf and no one really knowing if and when he’ll come back he still hasn’t gotten the minutes he seems to deserve.

The last three games though the Bucks current starting center, Zaza Pachulia, has been sidelined with a sore calf and the Bucks have had no choice but to start Henson and give him the kind of minutes fantasy owners have been waiting for. In these three games that Henson has started he has 12.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.7 BPG and 1.0 SPG in 26.7 MPG.

Is what Henson is doing enough to make the Bucks realize how important he can be to the team as they fight to stay in the playoff race. The Bucks have won all three games that Henson has started, two of those games against the Raptors and Trail Blazers.

The injury to Pachulia shouldn’t keep him out for an overly long time, so the question really is whether Henson has done enough to earn more playing time going forward. The Bucks and Jason Kidd clearly like the idea of a deep rotation and that’s fine and good, but Henson is arguably the team’s most talented big man with Sanders out, they have to see the need to have him on the court.

In the month of January Pachulia shot just 39% from the field. That’s absolutely dreadful for your big man who doesn’t shoot jumpers and puts up all his shots around the basket. Pachulia is a rebounder which is important, but Henson can grab boards too. Pachulia also isn’t the same of game changer on defense either with almost no shot blocking ability. Pachulia’s advantages come in terms of size and experience, but at some point the talent advantage of Henson has to win out over that doesn’t it?

At this point Henson is only owned in 8% of leagues in ESPN. Elite shot blockers don’t typically hang out on the waiver wire for long, and even at 16 MPG Henson has been on the brink of elite territory in shot blocking. So there is already value in Henson, if he can get close to 25 MPG he should be looking at 10 and 7 per game with over 2 blocks nightly.

I expect Henson’s ownership to rise over the next week so you should act fast to add him to your team and then hope Jason Kidd does the right thing and puts him on the court.

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