The One Milwaukee Bucks Player Who Deserves More Credit

Jordan RodewaldContributor IIApril 13, 2013

As soon as the organization recognizes his potential, Henson can begin to shine.
As soon as the organization recognizes his potential, Henson can begin to shine.Nick Laham/Getty Images

It hasn't meshed as well as many had hoped, but there's no denying that the Milwaukee Bucks have a profusion of talent on their roster. While players like Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are the most recognizable, there's one who deserves more credit than he's been given.

That player is rookie power forward John Henson.

And if it weren't for a puzzling lack of consistent minutes, his numbers could very well be on par with that of first-overall pick Anthony Davis.

Henson has appeared in 60 games so far this season, averaging just 12 minutes of playing time to go with his 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds on 47.4 percent shooting.

Those numbers are good when factoring how well they convert per 36 minutes of playing time.

On Wednesday night, Henson had his best game as a professional with a monstrous performance against the Orlando Magic.

It's easy to dismiss the impressive stat line because of who the Bucks played, but the Magic have a strong frontcourt and rebounding is arguably their strongest suit—they rank 11th in rebounds per game.

But if that wasn't convincing enough, he's performed well against good competition too.

Back in November—in just the fifth game of his career—Henson came off the bench and put up 17 points and 18 rebounds against the defending champion Miami Heat.

A little more than a month later, he kicked off 2013 in a big way by scoring 20 points and hauling in nine rebounds against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Henson's performances against two very good teams not only provide him with a confidence boost, but prove to fans that he can play at a high level.

One thing that seems to separate him from a lot of rookies is his calm demeanor whenever he receives the ball, and the fluidity he plays with in the paint. Some young players will panic and rush things when they get touches, but not Henson.

Take a look at some of the highlights from his big game against the Spurs.

In the first 10 seconds of the video, Henson makes a veteran move.

Immediately after catching the ball he realizes that he doesn't have great position on the low block, so he turns and faces up.

Why is this important?

Henson is a finesse player that isn't going to knock anyone over with force. Turning and facing the basket gives him an immediate advantage against Matt Bonner. 

While Bonner isn't a great defender to begin with, that move put him in an even tougher spot and allows Henson to exploit his superior quickness and excellent footwork.

The result: an easy two points.

Check out the rest of the video from that game to see how good Henson is at running the court and getting easy points in transition.

To follow that up, take a look at this simple-looking play from Wednesday's game against the Magic.

While it's a basic play, it's one that many young players have trouble converting and often turn the ball over on.

Henson catches the pass from Gustavo Ayon and immediately looks to go up with it. When he notices Moe Harkless going up for the block, he patiently waits before converting the easy dunk—and drawing the foul.

The key to this play is him not using a dribble.

Big men—especially youngsters—always feel the need to put the ball on the floor, which often gets them into trouble. Refraining from doing so greatly increases the chance of the play going right.

And while there are many aspects of his game worth mentioning, these are two areas in which he's ahead of the curve. Strength can be added and his jump shot can be improved, but patience and good footwork are hard to teach.

Defensively, Henson's natural gift of incredible length is always going to benefit him by giving opposing centers and penetrating guards a tough time. Though it's worth mentioning that he need to improve his ability to rotate on time.

There's certainly room for improvement, but Henson isn't getting the time he deserves.

Is there a reason for his lack of minutes?

No one can say with any certainty. It was a relative mystery as to why Tobias Harris didn't log more time when he was with the Bucks, and now he's thriving in Orlando.

Maybe it's an organizational thing not to play rookies, or maybe Scott Skiles and now Jim Boylan see something they don't like.

But when he gets proper minutes, it's hard to believe the latter because of Henson's immense potential.

Whatever the reason—and while it may not mean much in terms of wins and losses—Henson deserves much more credit than he's received during his rookie season.