A serial killer. That is the mindset that Ole Miss head basketball coach Andy Kennedy wanted junior Marshall Henderson to play with during the NCAA Tournament. Although Kennedy was reluctant to saying that openly to the media, it was the mindset Henderson used on the offensive end when always pursuing another 3-pointer.
But is Henderson capable of making it to the NBA? That is his goal.
“I’m trying to get paid here soon because I’m tired of doing all this stuff for free,” Henderson said before the NCAA Tournament started. “And this is where you make your money, the NCAA tournament.”
He’s too small. He’s too selfish. He shoots, and misses, too much. He’s too flamboyant. NBA players wouldn’t let Henderson do so much taunting. These are the most-heard reasons as to why Henderson won’t make it in the NBA.
However, he is getting some help in his quest and it comes from the San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green and the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry.
Through five games in the NBA Finals, Green is getting serious consideration for MVP due to his hot 3-point shooting. Green is shooting an absurd 66 percent from beyond the arc in the finals, averaging five made 3-pointers per game. He has already set the record for the most 3-pointers made in the NBA Finals.
Curry helped propel the Warriors to a series win over the Denver Nuggets and scared the Spurs in this season’s playoffs. Curry shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in the playoffs, making 3.5 per game while launching up 8.8 threes per game. Henderson made 3.8 while shooting 10.9 threes per game this year for Ole Miss.
Both Green and Curry are proving that shooters are needed in the NBA. Teams love to have a sharp shooter to kick the ball to and get three points. There will be a spot in the NBA for someone who can drain the three ball.
J.J. Redick and Kyle Korver have become mainstays in the NBA due to their shooting. Redick made $6 million last season while Korver made $5 million and that is the money Henderson is aiming for.
Curry is used as the number one option for the Warriors offense as Henderson is for the Ole Miss offense. Henderson certainly won’t walk into the NBA and be a number one offensive option, but he can be an effective role player as a shooter, a role that Green has taken to extreme heights.
Green falls way down the Spurs list of offensive options, but he has been able to hang out on the 3-point line while Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Dunan draw the defense’s attention. That is a role Henderson could step in and play.
Henderson is 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and his size could be an issue as the physical demand of playing defense in the NBA increases. Green is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, but Curry is just 6-foot-3 185 pounds. The small size isn’t an insurmountable issue.
Where Henderson may lack the size to play physical defense consistently, he has the smarts to make defensive plays. Henderson did a tremendous job of reading passes and playing passing lanes in order to get steals. His 48 steals ranked him 13th in the SEC this past season.
Henderson can find a spot in the NBA and get paid, but he has to be able to knock down threes. NBA teams need shooters to space the floor and fill up the bucket, and Henderson has that potential.