It’s about time the world learns about Xavier (pronounced: “Zah-vee-ay”) Henry, the new emerging star of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before entering the NBA Draft in 2010, Henry played one year of college basketball with the Kansas Jayhawks. In one season he averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and was 41.8% from the 3-point line.
He was drafted 12th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. He played 38 games for the Grizzlies and averaged 4.3 points and 1.0 rebounds. In 2012, he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets where he played two seasons. In his first season with the Hornets he played 45 games and averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds. In his second season with the Hornets he played 50 games and averaged 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds.
As the statistics show, his first three seasons in the NBA aren’t exactly what you call spectacular, especially for someone who was drafted 12th overall and was the first player in Kansas University history to leave for the NBA after his freshman year. Some would even go as far as to say, Henry has been a draft bust.
However, Henry is out to prove the critics wrong.
On September 5, 2013, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Xavier Henry. Henry proved himself during the preseason and made the final roster cuts.
His first regular season game with the Lakers was on Tuesday, October 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Many predicted that the Los Angeles Lakers would lose that game, but they were wrong. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 116-103. However, the biggest surprise of the night was Xavier Henry who had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
Four games into the season, Henry is the second leading scorer behind Gasol on the Lakers’ roster averaging 14.3 points. He is also averaging 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and is 45.5% from behind-the-arc. Xavier’s biggest weakness is from the free-throw line where he is shooting 58%. So far this season, he has gone to the line the most number of times (31) from the Lakers and must improve his efficiency to earn easy points for his team.
In Kobe’s absence, the Lakers needed a shooter to emerge and put points on the board. Nick Young, another free agent pickup was expected to provide scoring for the Lakers, but got off to a slow start.
After his incredible performance in the first three games off the bench, Mike D’Antoni promoted Henry to the starting lineup to replace Nick Young in the small forward position.
Henry has been a strong weapon on offense for the Lakers, but now he needs to improve his defense in order to be a complete threat on the court.
Besides being able to put points on the board, Xavier Henry has a quality a lot of players lack… the X Factor. When Henry is on the court he brings some sort of energy with him that is somehow picked up by his teammates. This energy and enthusiasm and passion that Henry brings to the game gives his team positive vibes and helps them win.
When head coach Mike D’Antoni was asked about his decision to put Henry in the starting lineup he said, “he’s played as well, if not better than anybody, so there is no reason not to go ahead and do this”.
Henry knows that now is the time to prove himself and show the world that he belongs in the NBA. With Kobe Bryant sidelined, Henry has more of an opportunity to be a star for the Lakers. If Henry plays like he has consistently, there’s a chance that he will still be in the starting lineup when Kobe returns. Although he is listed as a 6-foot-6 guard, Henry can play the wing and learn alongside the Black Mamba.
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