Gerald Henderson has made a slight statistical improvement from last season to this season, but maybe not the drastic leap many had hoped for. Hendo has raised his total shooting and scoring averages since from last season, but to be fair and in an attempt to generate a more precise idea of his improvement, we will look at his averages in games he started last season to the ones he’s started this season.
- In 2010-11 Henderson started 30 games: 33.3 MPG, 45% FG%, 13.4 PPG.
- So far this season Hendo has started 36 games: 32.9 MPG, 46.5% FG%, 14.5 PPG.
The increase in production as a starter from last season to this season isn’t drastic, but it’s noticeable. I’m not trying to point out to you how much better Henderson’s numbers are from last season to now, because they’re really not that different. What is different, though, is the way that Hendo is playing on the offensive end and how he’s beginning to attack the basket on a much more frequent basis, more aggressively. Henderson’s past 5 games (excluding vs Timberwolves, 3/28) have been nothing short of phenomenal on the offensive end:
- (Past 5 games) 19 PPG, 60.3% FG%.
- In 2010-11, 30% of Hendo’s total FGA came from 5-feet and in, where he shot a pedestrian 62.9% from this range.
- In Hendo’s past 5 games he’s used 27.2% of his total FGA from 5-feet and in, making 85.7% of the shots. The jump in % from last season to Henderson’s past 5 games can be explained by his aggressiveness attacking the rim.
The videos below will show how Hendo is becoming more aggressive around the basket than many defenders in this league may be accustomed to from him. All of these clips are from Henderson’s past 5 games (excluding vs Timberwolves, 3/28).
In this clip, Henderson attacks the baseline with his first step, gets the defender (Monta Ellis) off balance, turns and has created enough space for an easy short jumper.
Here again, Henderson chooses to attack the baseline without much hesitation. Hendo has a deceivingly quick first step and even with his back to the basket here, is able to spin and beat Ellis to the rim before help can come. Moves like this don’t allow weakside defense to react in time and will lead to very high percentage attempts.
When the ball has been in Henderson’s hands while crossing half court in the past, he’s almost always elected to pull it out, find the PG and set up the offense- maybe a habit picked up while learning under Larry Brown his rookie season. Nonetheless, Hendo shows the aggressiveness here to take the ball directly to the rim after he receives it in the middle of the floor on a press break. Leads to layup.
In this clip the Bobcats run a baseline screen in an attempt to get Hendo a low post touch, but it turns into an emphatic reverse dunk because of Hendo’s aggressiveness- Rondo’s ghostly help/show defense doesn’t hurt either. Regardless of the reason that Henderson was so wide open, he left his feet with one thing in mind- to dunk.
Here, Hendo simply sees a hole in the middle of the Toronto defense and decides to attack the basket.
Not only has he been attacking the basket with more aggressiveness, but Henderson has also been shooting the ball much better from the 15-24 ft. range. Henderson is shooting 51.4% from 15-24 ft. in the past 5 games. It seems as if the reason for this could be due to the fact that Hendo has polished some jabs, ball fakes and power dribbles to get defenders off and create more space to get his shot off. Let’s have a look.
Here, Henderson simply comes off a curl screen, catches the ball, uses a power dribble to the middle of the floor to get defenders on their heels and then pull the jumper.
Hendo has always used the triple-threat position well- he does in this video as well. The move that he’s able to get the defender (Evan Turner) off with is the jab step. Watch Turner fly backwards, fearing Henderson is about to attack the middle of the floor. This creates just enough space for Hendo to get off a comfortable shot.
In this final clip, we see Henderson get an ISO set in which he will drive baseline and use numerous ball fakes to get defenders in the air. Hendo does a great job of showing the ball not once, but twice, in order to score and earn a chance to the foul line for the 3-point play. The ball fakes that Hendo uses in this play are a sign that his offensive IQ is rising.
Gerald Henderson is probably the best overall talent that exist on this roster currently, and although it’s been a dismal season for the Bobcats, Hendo has been a bright spot. There is plenty of maturation/improvement to notice in his game that will hopefully continue to develop as his young career in this league continues to unfold. I hope that this post is a testament to some of the tools Henderson has added to his offensive arsenal.
Note: Statistics collected from the ‘past 5 games’ don’t include the Timberwolves game on 3/28.
Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.