First, I'd like to apologize for the long wait. I was out of the country last week and in yours, and my ability to get online was limited. I'm back, and it's time to continue our countdown.
You, the At The Hive readers, have decided that Gerald Henderson is the least valuable asset remaining in our asset countdown. Henderson garnered 46 percent of the votes, with P.J. Hairston placing a distant second with 23 percent. It was only a matter of time.
Henderson attracted a surprisingly high number of votes since we started this countdown, which speaks to his controversial position on the team. Henderson was drafted 12th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2009, and quickly became a polarizing figure to fans. On the one hand, Henderson is an elite athletic talent. He's as quick as the speediest point guards, and his hops rival the NBA's greatest leapers. He's a walking highlight reel when things are clicking.
However, he's undersized for his position, standing just 6'5" in shoes. While he's a fundamentally sound defender with elite physical tools, his inability to defend the NBA's bigger swingmen is a glaring weakness in his game. The Joe Johnsons and DeMar DeRozans of the league consistently bully him in the post where Henderson's intensity on the defensive end is often insufficient in preventing an easy basket. Still, Henderson is a pest on defense. Many fans will remember how flustered DeRozan gets when they match up a few times every year.
In addition, Henderson's 3-point shot, while improved, is still not consistent enough to space the floor for his teammates. He shot a career-high 34.8 percent from deep last season, and if he's able to continue improving his shooting from behind the 3-point line, his value to the team would increase significantly, even with the addition of Lance Stephenson.
Despite his weaknesses, Henderson is a smart NBA player with decent value on the trade market. Head coach Steve Clifford recently remarked that when Henderson is on the floor, he feels at ease because he knows the right plays will be made on both ends of the floor. Clifford's big on accountability, and to hear him say that speaks volumes to Henderson's basketball IQ and savvy.
Unfortunately, we're beginning to near the end of our asset countdown, and difficult decisions are being made. Henderson might be traded by the February trade deadline, but it won't be because he's a poor fit or bad player. The Hornets need to improve in other areas, and the addition of Lance Stephenson might make Henderson expendable.