I'll be honest: it sucks that this is what we have to resort to in
light darkness of the lockout. With no games in sight, and a deal looking further away than it has in weeks, fans have had to rely on mediocre pickup games and workout videos like Gerald Henderson's. Not much of a choice, but I'll take what I can get.
Gerald Henderson showed some encouraging improvement after the firing of Larry Brown, showcasing a silky mid-range jumper and stellar defensive fundamentals. Under Brown, Henderson averaged 3 points (on 41% shooting), 1.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, and .3 steals in just 13 minutes per game . In the last two months of the season under Silas, those averages jumped to 14.5 points (on 46% shooting), 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 33 minutes. Even with his newly discovered confidence, there were some glaring holes in his game: his 3-point shooting and his ball-handling ability.
That's why I was encouraged by Dime Magazine's video of Gerald Henderson's workouts this summer. There are plenty of promising signs of improvement, as well as some lingering weaknesses. And dude, check out his hair.
Let's start with the good. Henderson's shooting form has improved as a whole. Last season, Henderson struggled shooting the ball from deep mid-range and behind the 3-point line for two main reasons. One, he has a tendency to fade away unnecessarily the further he is from the basket. It's a common problem among young wing players today, and generally nothing to be too concerned about. It's an easy fix. Two, the further away from the basket he was, the less he'd square his shoulders. He leans his shooting shoulder inwards. Again, an easy fix, also common among young wings. Well guess what! Both of these issues appear to have been corrected this summer. It's all repetition, baby. Also nice to see him widen his base.
Let's move on to something lukewarm. Henderson appears to be working on several go-to moves such as spin jumpers and step-backs. If he's to make a leap into the next stage of his development, go-to moves are something he'll need. The good? He's working on some. The bad? They're rough, slow, and ineffective in game situations. Yes, this is practice. But some things will carry over into games. His footwork is slow and clumsy, and the steps he takes are simply too small for someone as long and athletic as he is. You only get two steps when you pick up your dribble. Exaggerate them. Make them long, galloping strides. Create as much space as you can and cover as much ground as you can. It's not all bad though. These are good moves, though. If he works at them and the trainers notice what's wrong, he'll be fine.
And onto the bad. I'm slowly beginning to believe that Henderson will never improve his ball-handling enough to become a second option on any team. The issues are fundamental: he doesn't get low, he dribbles the ball too high, he sometimes needs to look at the ball when dribbling, and he isn't using his fingers and wrist to push the ball downwards. These are things players are taught at a very young age, and often things that players have a difficult time improving on after high school. Mastery of the fundamentals of basketball is crucial for a player to reach his potential. It's not impossible for him to improve at this point, but it's certainly unlikely.
All in all, I'm pleased with what the video shows. Some players are treating the lockout like an extended vacation, and it's refreshing to see Gerald working hard and trying to get better. He's young and has a bright future ahead of him. At worst, he'll be a fantastic defender and shooter. At best? Well, the sky is ultimately the limit for a player with his natural talent.
Am I the only person who LOVES his hair?