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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Xavier Henry

Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.

The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.

We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:

Xavier Henry - SG - 6' 6.5"  210lbs. - University of Kansas


Ten Important Stats - Xavier Henry

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Stl/40 eFG% 3PT% FT% FT/40 TO/40 Pts/Pos
19.5 6.3 2.1 2.2 56.0% 41.8% 78.3 4.6 2.8 1.18

Strengths -

  • Henry has terrific size and strength for an NBA wing. At the NBA Combine he measured out at 6' 6.5" in shoes with a 6' 11.25" wingspan. He also has a very developed 210lb. frame. These physical attributes should give him a chance to play at either shooting guard or small forward depending on the situation.
  • Henry is a very skilled and efficient offensive player, with the crux of this skill set being his jumpshot. He has consistent textbook form, although it can suffer somewhat when shooting off the dribble. He shot 41.8% on 3PTs last year, and has legit NBA 3PT range as well.
  • At the basket he is not a powerful finisher, but his strength and body control make him an effective finisher. He doesn't do a terrific job of drawing fouls, but when he does he is a solid free throw shooter.
  • Henry has a very high basketball IQ. Despite spending only a season at Kansas, he understands how to play within the offense, looking for his shot or making the right pass depending on the situation. Among shooting guard prospects in this year's draft, only Avery Bradley and Terrico White turned the ball over less often.
  • Henry displays solid effort and fundamentals on the defensive side of the ball. He uses his length and strength to his advantage, challenging shots in the paint and on the perimeter.
  • Despite being only 19 years old, Henry is clearly a mature and polished prospect. He seems to have a very good sense of himself as a player, understanding his role on the floor as well as his strengths and weaknesses. By all appearances, he will be a solid locker room presence for whoever drafts him. Being so young, there is a lot of potential for future skill development.

Weaknesses -

  • Henry's size and strength are positives, but his athleticism is average at best. His lack of quickness and speed was exposed on occasion last year at the college level, on both sides of the ball. As he moves to the NBA this weakness may only exposed more by a higher level of athlete.
  • Although he is an efficient scorer from the perimeter, his offensive repertoire is fairly one-dimensional at this point. His ball handling ability is still very limited, and combining this with his average quickness and explosiveness restrains his ability as a penetrator and shot creator. He has terrific size and strength but hasn't had an impetus or opportunity to develop any sort of post game. When he is able to get shots at the basket it is usually in transition or off a cut resulting from the defense overplaying. To fully realize his potential in the NBA, he will have to develop some offensive weapons to go with his jumpshot.
  • Henry's defensive fundamentals are strong, but he is occasionally limited here by his quickness and athleticism as well. He certainly projects as a solid NBA defender, but quicker shooting guards will most likely continue to give him trouble.

How he can help the Pacers -

  • The Pacers backcourt rotation is anything but settled for next season. The promise of Brandon Rush has yet to be fulfilled, Dahntay Jones has a list of things he does well and a much longer list of things he doesn't, Mike Dunleavy has yet to regain his pre-injury form, and A.J. Price will be just coming off of knee surgery by the time the season starts. There are certainly minutes to be had in the Pacers backcourt, and Henry is as NBA-ready as any wing prospect in this year's draft.
  • There has been a lot of discussion, on this site and others, about the similarities between Henry and, the as-yet underwhelming Brandon Rush. From my perspective the comparisons have focused on tangential issues: similar physical profiles, same position from the same college, both seem to lack assertiveness and aggressiveness. For me, the crux of the comparison is the duplication of skills. Setting aside mental makeup, they seem to have the same strengths and weaknesses on the floor: 3PT shooting, adequate perimeter defense, inability or unwillingness to attack the basket. If the Pacers decide on Henry it seems like a given that Brandon Rush would need to be moved. It's just difficult to visualize them working together.
  • When the Pacers traded for his draft rights Brandon Rush was penciled in as the team's starting shooting guard for the next few seasons. It hasn't worked out as expected and perhaps the Pacers are ready to take a mulligan. Henry has a similar skill set, but is a different human being with his own unique emotional make-up, and could perhaps become the player Rush has yet to become. Henry has plenty of room for growth, and at the age of 19 should have ample opportunity for said growth. To be blunt he seems ready, as a rookie, to provide at least the same production Brandon Rush provided the team last season.
  • Henry is projected to go anywhere from the early 20s up to the middle of the lottery. There is a slim chance he will be there if the Pacers trade down, so if the team decides he's their guy, they will most likely need to grab him at pick #10.

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