Posts Tagged ‘john henson’






Brandon Jennings Monta Ellis Luc Richard Mbah a Moute Drew Gooden Samuel Dalembert
Beno Udrih Mike Dunleavy Mike Dunleavy John Henson Larry Sanders
Doron Lamb Tobias Harris Ekpe Udoh

2012-2013 Salary: $46,801,325 (John Henson included)

Expected Salary Cap Space: Around $11 million

RFAs: (none)

UFAs: Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Kwame Brown

Strengths: Frontcourt depth. Backcourt talent.  Even facing the departure of Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino, the Milwaukee Bucks have enviable depth in the frontcourt.  Unfortunately, none of their frontcourt players are of Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis caliber.  After the trade that brought Ellis to town, Milwaukee showcased a much more exciting offense and a reborn Mike Dunleavy.  The Bucks were good enough to challenge for the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but not good enough to secure it.  This is the most dangerous stage in team-building.  It is important to recognize your assets, and package redundant pieces for players that fit with your vision of the team.  Jennings and Ellis form a dangerous, if occasionally frustrating, duo in the backcourt, and both players are motivated scorers.  It will behoove Milwaukee to sort out their frontcourt, and decide which players they really like going forward.  Putting the right pieces around Jennings, Ellis, and Dalembert will be essential to this team’s success.  Trading for Dalembert was a step in the right direction. You can’t argue with the value of John Henson at #12, and Doron Lamb in the second round.  This team isn’t likely to be worse next year.  They are one “correct” piece away from moving up in the Eastern Conference hierarchy, and injecting themselves into the playoff picture.  If coach Scott Skiles can keep project his toughness onto this group of players, they could be a tough out.

Needs: Frontcourt talent. Backcourt depth. Quantity over quality can be intriguing if you have a synergistic mix of players like Denver has assembled. Unfortunately, if Ilyasova departs, many of Milwaukee’s big men are simply surplus.  It doesn’t help the team to have third-string players with limited potential getting ten minutes per game.  This team badly needs quality at the forward positions, especially the small forward position.  They will be hoping that John Henson can live up to his shot-blocking potential while also developing an offensive game.  But in order to compete with teams above .500, the Bucks will need to avoid stagnancy, and continue to be creative in re-shaping their roster.

Potential Signings:

  • Ersan Ilyasova (UFA, MIL, PF) – The guy had a monster (contract) year, and he’s going to make more than the $2.5 million Milwaukee shelled out to him last year.  That part’s unavoidable.  In this panelist’s opinion, the Bucks should re-sign Ilyasova unless the asking price exceeds a reasonable (read: in excess of $8 million) amount. He’s capable of scoring twenty points and grabbing ten boards per game, and he pushes Drew Gooden out of the starting lineup, which is essential for any respectable NBA team.  Signing Ilyasova means making a deal down the road, hopefully shipping out a few power forwards for depth elsewhere.
  • Antawn Jamison (UFA, CLE, PF) – A team that has way too many power forwards, and the first two free agents this panelist has listed are power forwards.  But this panelist is operating under the assumption that the Bucks are losing Ilyasova.  Antawn is still a threat, a creative player that can play both forward positions, rebounds fairly well, and scores in a variety of ways.  He was a big reason that the Cavs found any success at all outside of Kyrie Irving last season, and would be a cheaper alternative to re-signing Ilyasova, giving the Bucks room to make another significant signing this offseason.
  • Grant Hill (UFA, PHX, SF) – Very strong midrange jumper, smart defender, circumspect professional.  He won’t command a lot of money, and will make significant contributions.
  • George Hill (RFA, IND, PG/SG) – Can backup both guard positions and can score.  He would be a nice change of pace from the frenetic shot-jacking that is likely to occur when Ellis and Jennings are both on the floor.  Signing Hill also opens up the trade possibilities for Dunleavy and Udrih.
  • Nick Young (UFA, LAC, SG) – Scoring, and a little bit of defense.  Nick is streaky, stylish, and comfortable coming off of the bench. He just might not be comfortable in Milwaukee, as he has shown an unabashed predilection for teams located in Los Angeles, his hometown.
  • Rudy Fernandez (DEN, SG) – Denver didn’t make a qualifying offer to Fernandez, making him an unrestricted free agent. Rudy is a dynamic player who does a little bit of everything (and I do mean a little bit, unfortunately): three-point shooting, playmaking, driving, forcing turnovers.  He would give Milwaukee enviable depth, but would also push young players like Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb further back in the rotation than is prudent for their development.

Potential Trades:

  • Luol Deng (SF, CHI) to Milwaukee for Beno Udrih, Larry Sanders, and Ekpe Udoh: This trade is all about balance.  The Bucks, as currently constructed, have far too many power forwards.  Ersan Ilyasova may well leave in free agency, depending on his willingness to re-sign in Milwaukee and the veracity of rumors that his price tag will be far more than the Bucks would like to tender.  Drew Gooden, Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, Tobias Harris, and Ersan Ilyasova all played power forward at times last year.  In this scenario, the Bucks ship Sanders and the newly acquired Udoh out of town in exchange for Luol Deng, who would be a big improvement over the talented, but limited, Mbah a  Moute.  This trade would also free up minutes at the center position, allowing Henson to get additional time backing up two positions.  Likewise, Doron Lamb could be asked to share in the backup point guard duties.  Gaining development minutes for your two draft picks is not a bad thing.  Dunleavy, who was an excellent sixth man last season, would continue in that role backing up the shooting guard and small forward positions.  Milwaukee’s starting lineup would be significantly better on both sides of the court.  After this trade, a backup point guard would become a necessary target, and Milwaukee would need to think about how much Ilyasova is worth to them.  Chicago gets depth at point guard, as well as a replacement for Omer Asik.
  • Andre Iguodala (SF, PHI) for Beno Udrih and Mike Dunleavy: Philadelphia has been looking for a partner for a deal involving Iguodala for some time. This might not be the deal they are looking for, but in dealing Iguodala for Udrih and Dunleavy, the 76ers pick up two players that can shoot.  They desperately need shooters.  They save money in the short-term (around $3 million) and the long-term (both Udrih and Dunleavy have a year less on their deals than Iguodala).  For Milwaukee, this deal provides them with the defensive stopper they have needed since becoming a more up-tempo team, and also a forward who can run alongside Jennings and Ellis.  Iguodala could be a really great fit for this team.

The Philadelphia 76ers had a surprisingly successful playoff run. They beat the Chicago Bulls in six games and took the Boston Celtics to seven before  falling in a hard fought final game. They are young, athletic, well-coached, and seem to genuinely like playing basketball together. The future is so bright…Every Philadelphia 76ers fan wishes it was this simple, that all of it was real.

The reality is, as all NBA fans know, an 8th seed Philadelphia beat a 1 seed Chicago team that lost Derrick Rose in Game 1 of the series, and Joakim Noah soon thereafter. They beat Chicago but didn’t really beat Chicago. The reality is Philadelphia took Boston to 7 games, and certainly played a great series, but probably caught Boston looking past them to the Miami Heat. The reality is the Philadelphia 76ers are a close to capped-out borderline playoff team with some nice pieces but no real star. Jrue Holiday is only 22 years old, and is developing into a very good point guard, but likely ultimately has great sidekick on a contender, not superstar potential. Evan Turner, 23 years old, has shown flashes of the talent that made him the 2nd pick in the 2010 Draft, but might not ever develop the offensive repertoire to be an elite wing. Thaddeus Young, 24 years old, has the ability to take over a game on offense, but lacks a true position and can disappear in games just as easily as he takes them over. Andre Iguodala is a defensive stopper, veteran presence, and a team leader, but he’s limited offensively and egregiously overpaid.

The real danger of Philadelphia’s playoff run is that management and ownership will take on the mentality of the first short paragraph of this entry and ignore the reality outlined after that paragraph ended. Philadelphia, despite its young talent, is not slowly maturing into a contender as much as they’re building towards occupying the standings territory currently claimed by teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks. There is no potential Kevin Durant caliber talent on this team, there is no potential Russell Westbrook caliber talent on this team, there may not even be any James Harden caliber talent on this team. Philadelphia will never be able to go toe to toe with Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and the Miami Heat. Philadelphia will probably never challenge a healthy Chicago Bulls team provided Rose is able to be the player he has been his whole career to date after recovery from his knee injury.

So, as this writer asked when discussing the Golden State Warriors, if Philadelphia, as currently constructed, is not ever going to be talented enough to win a championship, why keep it together? Why make off-season moves, more focused on adding complimentary pieces than centerpieces? The author of this entry believes that management will, by and large, keep this team together. They will draft at pick 15 and hope they find a sleeper, as they have in the past. They will consider re-signing Lou Williams and Spencer Hawes to lucrative long-term deals in order to “keep the core intact”, “ensure relevance”, and keep Doug Collins employed. They will throw away any real chance at reaching the sport’s ultimate goal in the process.

This mock draft has always been a mix of the authors’ respective beliefs about what each team should do and what they will do. Some picks have been more should and others have been more will. The author of this entry confesses that he is a lifelong Philadelphia 76ers fan, and as such cannot resist indulging in a large amount of should and very little will with the trade/free-agent signing/draft pick selection combinations that will follow. Below are two possible offseason scenarios that Philadelphia should pursue. One is more achievable than the other. Neither is likely to transpire this offseason. Both scenarios allow for the team to draft the same player and have him be a good fit. The likely standing pat route also allows for John Henson’s selection to be a good fit.

Scenario 1 (The Most Difficult to Achieve):

Step 1: Amnesty Elton Brand

Step 2: Do not attempt to resign Lou Williams after he opts out

Step 3: Reach out to Deron Williams. Attempt to convince him, and by proxy, Dwight Howard, that Philadelphia is one of the only teams with the cap room, young tradable assets, market size, remaining roster pieces after trade to accommodate their pairing and facilitate their scenario playing out more like the Heat and less like the New York Knicks.

Step 4: Sign Deron Williams

Step 5: Offer Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, a future 1st Round Pick and either a signed-and-traded Spencer Hawes, or Thaddeus Young to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard

Step 6: Pray that Orlando will feel it has no leverage in the situation and that their scouts are high on Philadelphia’s pieces

Step 7: Sign Andrei Kirilenko, via convincing by his friend Deron Williams, to a midlevel exception deal

Step 8: Draft John Henson

Step 9: Re-sign Jodie Meeks, Lavoy Allen, if possible and reasonable. Sign Meeks before Allen.

This scenario is obviously far-fetched, but not quite as far-fetched as it might seem at first glance. Philadelphia is a large market. Philadelphia, via a Brand amnesty, has the cap-room to sign D. Williams. Philadelphia is also one of the few teams that has the quantity of young talent to potentially entice Orlando if Orlando feels Howard is gone and they have little trade leverage.

A starting lineup and rotation under this scenario would look like this:

PG-Deron Williams

SG-Jodie Meeks

SF-Andre Iguodala

PF-Andrei Kirilenko

C-Dwight Howard


John Henson

Nikolai Vucecic

Tentatively Thad Young (if Hawes via sign and trade instead of Young)

No one else worth noting

Scenario 2 (Slightly Less Difficult to Achieve):

Step 1: Amnesty Elton Brand

Step 2: Trade Andre Iguodala to Golden State Warriors for 7th pick, Dorrell Wright, and either Andres Biedrins or Richard Jefferson

Step 3: Throw a huge offer at Eric Gordon (Nicolas Batum would be a backup plan but Gordon would be the one to go after)

Step 4: Draft Perry Jones III at Pick 7 (using this mock as indicator of who is available)

Step 5: Draft John Henson at Pick 15

Step 6: Re-sign Jodie Meeks

Step 7: Let Lou Williams and Spencer Hawes leave in free-agency

This scenario is less far-fetched than the first one, but its being fully successful still relies on New Orleans not matching an offer for Eric Gordon or Portland not matching an offer for Nicolas Batum. In other words the offer would have to be an overpay. Assuming Philadelphia can pry one of these two away from their team, this scenario would be a longview upgrade and would offer some hope that the future of the team actually could be bright. In Gordon/Batum, Turner, Holiday, Jones III, Henson, and Thad Young you would have six high potential players all under the age of 25.

A starting lineup and rotation under this scenario would look like this:

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Eric Gordon

SG/SF: Evan Turner

PF: Thad Young/John Henson

C: John Henson/Andres Biedrins


Thad Young/John Henson

John Henson/Andres Biedrins

Dorrell Wright

Perry Jones III

Jodie Meeks

These scenarios involve management taking risks. They could crash and burn. But this author would prefer a glorious, fiery death to a slow burn any day.