Why Xavier Henry Is Ideal Nick Young Complement for LA Lakers

Even the most insignificant of free-agent signings can mean something.

That's what the Los Angeles Lakers are banking on anyway after filling out their cap-strapped roster with unsung role players like Shawne Williams and Wesley Johnson. Most recently, general manager Mitch Kupchak announced the team had signed former lottery pick Xavier Henry in a continued effort to bolster the rotation on a beggar's dime.

Once considered a high school prodigy, Henry's career has failed to take off since he forewent his sophomore season at Kansas and was drafted 12th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2010. Through three seasons he's yet to log more than 16.9 minutes per game or post a PER above 9.2.

By adding Henry to a perimeter corps that already includes Nick Young, Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks, Williams and Johnson, the Lakers aren't paying Henry for what he's done; they're hoping he's a source of untapped potential.

Parades won't be thrown in anticipation of his arrival, nor does he project as a sudden star, but he does deepen a team now catering to Mike D'Antoni's preferred style of play. Young specifically now has a fellow 2-3 drifter who, like him, figures to spend time at shooting guard and small forward.

How many minutes (if any) Henry will receive remains unclear. But he can do many of the things Young isn't known for, making him an ideal candidate to back up (or play alongside) Swaggy P.


Positional Versatility

Los Angeles' docket is currently replete with versatile talent.

There are big men who can play either the 4 or 5 (Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman), tweeners who will act as a small forward or stretch 4 (Ryan Kelly, Williams, not Jordan Hill) and combo guards who can serve as a primary playmaker or off-ball scorer (Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks). Now the roster is chock-full of players who can shift between the 2 and 3 (Kobe Bryant, Johnson, Young, Henry)...

About the Author