I'm glad to see that Xavier Henry is finally getting some play on TopBuzz. And he is starting to get some Buzz around the league as his stock rises in the Consensus Mock Drafts. Why? As you do your homework in analyzing this years draft, you notice one thing that stands out. If you are looking for a shooter at the 1, 2 or 3, you are going to get frustrated.
Xavier is a 19 year old phenom out of Kansas who is a rare commodity in this years draft. He can shoot. He averaged 28PPG in high school. As a freshman at Kansas he had 14PPG in 27 minutes per game while shooting 46% from the field. Oh yes, at age 18. And he is so young his potential hasn't even nearly been realized. We can't yet imagine how good he might get. Go and visit http://www.nbadraft and check their consensus Mock Draft. You notice that Henry has moved up in this consensus to 11. So why is he moving up?
If you look at the other guards and small forwards in the draft who are likely lottery picks and check their shooting percentages from the very short 3 point line in college, you begin to think that maybe this years draft is the Gang Who Can't Shoot Straight.
36% Evan Turner
32% John Wall
41% Wesley Johnson
27% Al Farouq Aminu
34% James Anderson
38% Damion James
42% Xavier Henry
So what does this mean for the Clippers? Turner, Wall, and Johnson are like to be gone before we draft at 8. So unless we give up an additional asset to move up, we are left with only one player who can shoot well from the outside. We are left with only one player who has the most upside because of his young age.
Here is the analysis from NBADraft.net on Henry. " Eighteen year old freshman with an effortless, fluid style ... His body is NBA ready - built like a freight train possessing tremendous strength ... Ideal frame for a shooting guard or small forward at the next level. Naturally gifted scorer (28 ppg as a HS senior) with a deadly shooting eye. Prolific shooter from beyond the arc with tremendous range. Pure stroke with a quick, smooth release. No hitches ... Uses his legs very well on his shot getting good lift ... Effective slashing to the hoop where he can attack the rim and seek out contact ... Finishes extremely well, shrugging off defenders with ease ... Gets to the free throw line regularly and is automatic. Active on the glass ... Can be a terrific rebounding wing with his strength and freakish wingspan (6.7 per game in 2009 and 7.2 in 2008) ... A thief when playing off the ball defensively, reading passing lanes and intercepting passes (1.7 spg through his first seven collegiate games). Refreshing positive attitude on the court. Always smiling, seeming to truly enjoy the game of basketball ... Hard worker and very coachable, which is rare for a player of his stature."
The Clippers will sign a max free agent to fill our biggest need, which is SF. So, you draft for your next biggest need, and for the Clippers that is shooting from the outside. We never have enough great outside shooting. If you do your homework on who will likely be available with the 8th pick, it is actually easy to see that from the field and from the 3, Henry is by far the best shooter available at 46% and 42% . But his value does not end there. He can slash to the bucket, play defense, and rebound. The Consensus Mock Draft now has him at 11, and his stock is rising. Other teams are looking for shooters as well. That's why he is moving up. Henry will be able to play the 2 or the 3 in the NBA and at 6'6" will be able to add height to the shooting guard position which is Eric Gordon's biggest weakness. He's short for a shooting guard.
Be careful endorsing players at the 3 who can't throw a pea in the ocean from farther than 3 feet from the basket. I have been a Clipper fan for a long time. One thing we have lacked for years and years has been consistant outside shooting. When we shoot, we win. When we don't.......we lose.