Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson finds ceiling, but is still improving

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As an NBA player it is important to avoid a having a low ceiling. John Henson of the Milwaukee Bucks has found his, but now he is improving his game.

John Henson is a crucial player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is never going to be a star or carry the team on his shoulders, but he is going to be the glue guy, the bits and pieces man.

Henson is not gifted with the freakish athleticism of Giannis Antetokounmpo, nor has he been blessed with the shooting stroke of Khris Middleton. What Henson has been blessed with is a good basketball brain, height and a defensive ability that matches his work ethic.

For his career, Henson has been a serviceable offensive player who has been really solid on defense. It is this combination that has allowed Henson to carve out a six-year NBA career.

In this time, Henson has averaged 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Taken by themselves, these numbers are nothing special. However, given that he is playing in the shadows of stars, they are passable.

This season, Henson is averaging 9.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. These numbers are reasonably close to his career numbers, which indicates that Henson is at the upper level of his production. He may have already reached his ceiling, in other words.

Six years into a career is usually enough to give a good sample size. However, delving deeper into his numbers shows that he is actually improving his efficiency.

Advanced numbers

The first number that shows Henson is improving his efficiency is his field goal percentage.  Henson is shooting a career-best 58.6 percent from the field. He is making 3.8 shots on 6.5 attempts per game. Both of these numbers are second only to Henson’s second season in Milwaukee, when he took 9.1 shots per game and made 4.9 of them.

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Henson is also taking 55.4 percent of all his attempts from between 0-3 feet. Of these shots, Henson is converting at a 72.4 percent clip. This is the highest number of his career from any distance. If Henson has the ball within this distance, he is making almost three out of every four shots.

On offense, Henson is also getting into better position to help him teammates. Henson has had 80.6 percent of his field goals assisted on this season. This is a career high for Henson. He has also made 64 dunks for the year, just one shy of his career high.

Henson is also playing every minute of court time this season at the center position. This is the first time in his career he has had that luxury. This is allowing the Bucks to build around the center position, surrounding him with tremendous talent.

Henson has been able to achieve all of this with his lowest usage of his career, at 15.7 percent. His career usage is 18.6 percent, once again showing the improvement in his efficiency.

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As  Henson continues to grow within himself and the team structure, the Milwaukee Bucks will continue to benefit from his improved play. He may not improve his overall box-score numbers too much more in his career, but what will improve is the way in which he gets to them.