Welcome to Gerald Henderson. What's Next?


The big news this morning for fans of Carolina college basketball is the strong rumor that Stephen Curry is part of the Warriors' and Suns' trade that would move, principally, Andris Biedrins for Amar'e Stoudemire.

In that trade, the Warriors would give up center Andris Biedrins, forward Brandan Wright, guard Marco Belinell, possibly swingman Kelenna Azubuike and the seventh pick (Curry), with the Suns sending power forward deluxe Amare Stoudemire to Oakland.

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As for the Bobcats, this year's draft was anti-climactic after last year's dramatic pass on Brook Lopez in favor of Augustin. I loved and love Lopez, but Augustin ain't exactly chopped liver, and after his exciting rookie season, it will be a disappointment if he isn't a full fledged NBA starter for the next six or seven years.


Gerald Henderson doesn't come with the kind of expectations Lopez did. He'll probably be expected to play a similar role to Augustin's season sitting behind Raymond Felton, only Henderson will be understudy to Raja Bell. Similar to that situation, there's no guarantee that Bell will have a job in Charlotte next season, in any capacity, so it will require a certain professional fortitude to help Henderson adjust to the pro game and life without taking out frustrations and fears on him. If Bell can't handle a lottery pick backing him up and being groomed for the full time job, then his contract is attractive enough to trade during the season.

In many ways, Gerald Henderson's primary use will be to improve upon Cartier Martin's play this past season, not exactly a tall order. As a lottery pick, he certainly has the pedigree to fulfill that expectation, and even though he's a different kind of player than either Martin or Bell, he's going to fit in to the SG spot exactly as Larry Brown wants him to fit in. As LB said over and over last season, shooting threes isn't really his thing; he wants guys who get to the basket. As we know from simple math, if you're not shooting threes, your odds of successfully converting on a possession go up as you get closer to the rim. Henderson won't shoot as well from long range as Bell did, but he'll be far better at slashing off the dribble and away from the ball.

As a bonus, the depth chart has an orderly, coherent flow to it now:

PG

Augustin, Felton, Jefferson

SG

Bell, Henderson

SF

Wallace, Radmanovic, Martin

PF

Diaw, Brown, Ajinca

C

Okafor, Diop

In practical terms, Felton and Augustin will play some together, VladRad will play anywhere from SG-SF-PF, Wallace will probably still do a little swinging between SF-PF, and we may even see Jefferson and Martin playing some nominal SG. In the end, that leaves two spots on the 15-man roster. If I'm not mistaken, we still have the MLE to use on players, but, improbably, that would push us up against the luxury tax threshold, and there's no way in hell ownership is signing off on that.

So it's kind of useless to dream of using the MLE on Chris Andersen or Brandon Bass, or even part of the MLE on guys like Zaza Pachulia or Antonio McDyess. More reasonably, we might be able to sign someone to a minimum deal. Joe Smith could be a better version of Juwan Howard. You could do a lot worse than Theo Ratliff (gag). I'd fully endorse a Shavlik Randolph signing, rebounder that he is, but you can't expect rank-and-file Duke-hating Bobcats fans to accept it.

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