NBA Draft: Xavier Henry is the next Joe Johnson

06.22.10 7 years ago 9 Comments

Xavier Henry at Kansas


Players, coaches, scouts and writers … ask any of them who have encountered Joe Johnson up-close and they’ll tell you the same: Joe is every bit his listed 6-7, 240 pounds. Maybe bigger.

Now meet Xavier Henry. A Top-10 prospect who left Kansas after his freshman season, he’s listed at 6-6, 220, and may be even bigger. And at just 19 years old, he’s not done growing. But measurements aren’t the only thing Henry has in common with his NBA doppelganger.

Joe Johnson didn’t put up numbers in college that advertised he’d be a future All-Star. In his sophomore year at Arkansas he averaged 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals. At Kansas, Henry was good for 13.4 points, 4.4 boards, 1.5 dimes and 1.5 steals a night at the two-guard spot. Were you expecting more from an All-Everything high schooler who was the prize in a recruiting war between the Jayhawks, Kentucky and Memphis? Consider that Henry played next to a pair of star upperclassmen — point guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich — on a deep KU squad where four guys averaged double-figure scoring.

So why is he a Lottery pick? Because in the NBA Draft, talent always supersedes stats. Henry needs to work on his handle in order to be a true three-position threat like Johnson, but his lefty shooting stroke is good from NBA three range, and he can make a living muscling defenders to create space for mid-range J’s and floaters. Beyond the pro-ready frame, he’s got pro-ready game.

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