A shooting guard who cannot shoot – at least not so far. It may seem harsh, but that was my take on Gerald Henderson this past season. And it lined up with what he did at Duke – a lot of long two point attempts, not a lot of makes. As soon as I started thinking about reviewing Henderson, I knew the first place I would go was Hoopdata.com – I wanted to see a breakdown of his attempts by location. And it was just what I expected:
|10 to 15||1.0|
|16 to 23||3.3|
Good news: Gerald makes an effort to get to the rim: Kudos. Bad news: Gerald takes more long twos than threes: Stop that. It is not an efficient shot – and as such, Gerald shot just 35.6% from the field and 21.1% from deep. That mark of 21.1% from deep is atrocious – but it is barely different from what Henderson did on long twos, where he shot 33%. 21.1 * 3 = 63.3. 33.0 * 2 = 66.0. The point: Gerald, stop taking jumpers until you are better at it – maybe only shoot from the foul line and in for a bit. Definitely stop curling off screens and pulling up for a jumper with a foot on the line or just a step in from three – it makes me yell at the tv.
With that out of the way – Gerald performed about as expected this year: He did not do much and he was not on the court often. With Larry Brown at the helm, rookies should not expect to see many minutes – and despite the strong defensive reputation Gerald had coming out of college, that was still based on playing college basketball. Henderson has a bit to learn yet about playing defense in the NBA but he does appear to have the tools to become a defensive presence with long arms and good leaping ability – is there anything more fun than watching a shooting guard blocking dunk attempts? I cannot remember specific instances, but I know Henderson did that this season – and things like that stand out and help counter the numbers that say he really struggled. Oh – and though he did not log many minutes, and most came against subs – Gerald had very solid opponent numbers, as he surrendered a PER of 10.8, against an expected of 13.1. For all his stats, look here: Gerald Henderson stats from QCH.
And that is all I have – Henderson played sparingly this year. Next season, Stephen Jackson will still be taking most of the minutes at the 2. Henderson has an opportunity to take the backup spot, with Larry Hughes and Stephen Graham not under contract at this time. Do that Bobcats resign one of them, bring back Flip Murray, or did Gerald show enough in his rookie year for them to trust him for 15 minutes a night at the 2? With a lottery pick invested in him, I hope the answer involves trust – though on an offensively-challenged team, Gerald Henderson has not made it easy so far.