Is Xavier Henry or Nick Young the Better Fit When Kobe Bryant Returns?

Without Kobe Bryant in the rotation, Mike D'Antoni has been able to allocate plenty of minutes to both Xavier Henry and Nick Young. While there is no doubt that the Black Mamba's return to the Los Angeles Lakers will upset the balance of playing time, it isn't clear whose minutes will be mitigated the most. 

For the time being, Henry and Young are basically splitting time at both the shooting guard and small forward spots. However, once Bryant returns to take up most of the minutes at shooting guard, one of the two will probably become the incumbent starter at the 3 while the other has to play backup minutes at either spot. 

Currently, the two players are putting up almost identical numbers. Both players are averaging 22 minutes, three rebounds and one assist. Young has the scoring advantage by putting up 11.4 points per game to Henry's 9.1. 

Based purely on statistics, it is clear that Young is the more efficient scorer. Not only is he putting up more points, he is shooting 41.7 percent from the field, whereas Henry is only shooting 34.3 percent. However, both bring different things to the table.

Henry has only scored over 10 points in three games while Young has done so in five and is more consistent with his offensive output. Young also has the more proven track record during his career, as this season is more of a breakout season for Henry. 

However, Young has struggled from three-point range this season, only making 26.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Henry is making 33.3 percent of his threes and is a more consistent outside threat. While both can stretch the floor, Henry has proved himself the more credible threat from distance.

When Bryant returns, floor spacing will be essential for the Black Mamba, Pau Gasol and the point guards on the roster to create for each other. If Henry can prove to be the more consistent outside threat, h...

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