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2019-20 Preseason Profile: John Henson

Shot-Blocking Big Man Hopes to Finally Show His Stuff
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

2019-20 Preseason Profile:
John Henson

Shot-Blocking Big Man Hopes to Finally Show His Stuff


We’re not usually in the business of publishing unflattering Cavaliers statistics, but if there’s one area where the team will look to improve this season, it’s in the shot-blocking department.

The Cavaliers haven’t had a player block over 100 shots since Big Z swatted 120 back in 2007-08. Last year, Larry Nance Jr. led the squad with 40 and the team as a whole finished with 195 total – last in the league – 136 blocks behind the 29th-ranked squad (Detroit) and 330 behind the league-leader (Golden State).

The Wine & Gold have a rock-solid frontline. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic and the aforementioned Nance give the Cavaliers a versatile, skilled collection of big men. There’s just not a consistent rim-protector among that group.

All the more reason for the Cavs brass and coaching staff to see what John Henson can do when he’s finally able to suit up and see minutes.

Henson was part of the three-team deal early last December that brought Matthew Dellavedova back to Cleveland while sending George Hill to the Bucks and Sam Dekker to the Wizards. But Henson spent his first season as a Cavalier wearing a cast on his left arm after undergoing surgery to repair torn wrist ligaments after suffering the season-ending injury on November 14 against Memphis.

An eight-year vet out of North Carolina, Henson had played in 405 career games with Milwaukee at the time of the deal, averaging 7.8 points on 54 percent shooting to go with 5.4 boards and 1.48 blocks.

Henson was the No. 14 overall pick back in 2012. He had his best offensive season as a sophomore when he averaged 11.1 ppg; his best defensive campaign a year later, averaging 2.01 blocks per contest.

After missing the final 68 games of the season last year, Henson will finally have a chance to show his stuff and hopefully provide the Wine & Gold the shot-blocker they’ve been missing for over a decade.


John Henson has blocked over 100 shots in four of his first seven NBA seasons.
Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images


LOOKING BACK -- If we’re going to take a look back at John Henson, it’ll have to be beyond last season.

In just 14 games last year, the 6-11, 220-pounder averaged just 5.6 points per, notching double-figure scoring twice, double-digit rebounds once and at least one block in each of his first six contests.

If Henson posts similar stats to his most recent full season – 2017-18 – the Cavaliers finally will have a shot-blocker to top the century mark – having rejected 109 offerings that year. He finished 12th in the NBA that year, had nine games with three blocked shots and four more with four. In 2015-16, Henson ranked 5th in the Association in blocks; he was 9th overall the previous year.

Henson can provide some offensive lift off the bench; he averaged 8.8 ppg in his final, full season in Milwaukee and has shot over 50 percent from the floor in five of his first seven seasons.


BY THE NUMBERS: 11 … three-pointers that Henson drilled in just 14 games last season, hitting 11 of those attempts to go .355 from beyond the arc.

In his previous six years in the league, Henson had hit just a single three-pointer in 13 attempts. He still has a comfortable lead over Cleveland’s other bigs: Tristan Thompson – who’s missed all nine attempts – and Ante Zizic – who’s never attempted a three-pointer.


LOOKING AHEAD -- In terms of Cavaliers big men, they already have one who shoots threes in Kevin Love; and another who’s rapidly improving in Larry Nance Jr. Tristan Thompson does a little bit of everything on both ends and Ante Zizic can bang off the bench.

What they truly need is someone who can protect the rim.

We’ll learn more as Camp progresses, but early indications are that John Beilein would like to play Darius Garland and Collin Sexton together. It should be dynamic, offensively, but will also probably put some pressure on the Wine & Gold’s second line of defense.

Like several Cavaliers, Henson has the extra motivation of going into the final year of his contract. He’ll want to impress as he tries to bounce back from injury. And if he’s able to, Cleveland might have its first viable shot-blocking big man since Zydrunas Ilgauskas.


GAME RECAP: Thunder 109, Cavaliers 103

Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench in the Thunder's 109-103 win over the Cavaliers.

Henson Player Preview Playlist

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GAME RECAP: Thunder 109, Cavaliers 103

Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench in the Thunder's 109-103 win over the Cavaliers.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:01

Garland's Quick Pass to Henson Inside

Darius Garland fires a quick pass from the top of the key inside to John Henson who dunks it home.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:09

KPJ Throws Down Huge Two-Handed Slam

John Henson finds Kevin Porter Jr. cutting to the hoop and Porter jumps out of the gym to finish the dunk with two hands.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:11

John Henson Rises to Block Thunder Shot

John Henson slides over on defense and sends back the OKC shot attempt.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:13

Delly Finds John Henson for a Dunk

Matthew Dellavedova fires an accurate pass to John Henson, who cuts back door and is all alone for a dunk.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:09

GAME RECAP: Knicks 139, Cavaliers 134

Marcus Morris Sr. scores 26 points with 2 rebounds and an assist to lead New York to the overtime win over Cleveland, 139-134.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:01

John Henson Scores, Gets Fouled in the Process

John Henson gets the offensive rebound and puts the ball back up and in as he gets fouled and earns a trip to the line.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:10

KLove's And-One Inside

John Henson makes a quick pass to a cutting Kevin Love who scores and gets fouled in the process to earn a trip to the line.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:11

Top Plays of January presented by Lexus

Check out the Wine & Gold's Top Plays from the month of January presented by Lexus.
Feb 3, 2020  |  04:04

GAME RECAP: Warriors 131, Cavaliers 112

Draymond Green dished out 16 assists in the Warriors 131-112 win over the Cavaliers.
Feb 1, 2020  |  00:01

GAME RECAP: Raptors 115, Cavaliers 109

The Raptors beat the Cavaliers 115-109 thanks to a 26 point performance from Serge Ibaka.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:01

GAME RECAP: Pelicans 125, Cavaliers 111

Jrue Holiday posts 28 points and adds 8 assists as New Orleans beats Cleveland, 125-111.
Jan 28, 2020  |  00:01

Henson Slams After Loose Ball Picked up by the Cavs

After grabbing the loose ball in the backcourt, Larry Nance Jr. hits John Henson in the paint for a two-handed slam.
Jan 28, 2020  |  00:09

Delly Throws Opp to Henson who Finishes in Traffic

Matthew Dellavedova hands out another ally-oop, this time thowing it up for John Henson. Henson makes a nice catch and finish in the lane through traffic.
Jan 28, 2020  |  00:09

GAME RECAP: Bulls 118, Cavaliers 106

Zach LaVine dominates for 44 points and 10 boards as Chicago beat Cleveland, 118-106.
Jan 25, 2020  |  00:01

Nance Throws it Up, Henson Throws it Down

The two Cavs forwards link up for an ally-opp, as Larry Nance Jr. assists to John Henson for the two handed finish.
Jan 25, 2020  |  00:09

GAME RECAP: Wizards 124, Cavaliers 112

The Cavs can't keep pace with the Wiz, fall on Thursday night in Cleveland.
Jan 23, 2020  |  00:01

Henson Dimes Dante for Slam

John Henson notches the assist on Dante Exum's second-quarter slam.
Jan 23, 2020  |  00:07

Cavs, Smucker's Spend Afternoon with Boys and Girls Clubs

The Cavs and Smucker’s hosted a special panel discussion for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, featuring current Cavalier John Henson and legends Austin Carr and Campy Russell.
Jan 21, 2020  |  01:00

Cavs Recite MLK's Famous Glenville High School Speech

The Cavs remember Martin Luther King's famous speech from Glenville High School in 1967 by reciting the moving words of the late activist.
Jan 20, 2020  |  01:18

60-Second Recap: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs can't rally on Friday night, fall to Grizzlies in Memphis.
Jan 17, 2020  |  00:01

GAME RECAP: Grizzlies 113, Cavaliers 109

Dillon Brooks is the leading scorer with 26 points in the close game against Cleveland, Memphis gets the win, 113-109.
Jan 17, 2020  |  00:01

GAME RECAP: Clippers 128, Cavaliers 103

Kawhi Leonard scores 43 points with four assists, three rebounds and a block to lead LA over Cleveland, 128-103.
Jan 15, 2020  |  00:01

Cavs at Clippers Postgame: John Henson

Cavaliers center John Henson spoke with the media following Tuesday’s loss to the LA Clippers at the STAPLES Center.
Jan 15, 2020  |  02:44

Henson Kicks Off the Block Party

John Henson swats the Clippers shot before Garland sends one back of his own.
Jan 14, 2020  |  00:16

Featured Highlight: Henson Slams It

Darius Garland dimes John Henson for the first-quarter slam.
Jan 14, 2020  |  00:10

Sexton's Sweet Bounce Pass to Henson for a Floater

Collin Sexton regroups after the ball is knocked loose and finds John Henson with a nice bounce pass inside in which Henson finishes off the play.
Jan 14, 2020  |  00:13

Henson Tips In Exum's Pass

Dante Exum throws up a pass to John Henson at the rim in which Henson tips in for two.
Jan 14, 2020  |  00:09
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