Can John Henson and Greg Monroe Make a Solid Defensive Duo?


With the Milwaukee Bucks defense struggling as hard as it has, why not try going big with John Henson to defend the rim alongside Greg Monroe?

The Milwaukee Bucks have been a model of inconsistency to begin this season, and most would say that is putting it rather mildly. While nobody thought the young Bucks would challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, many people did believe they could compete in the normally weaker conference.

After finishing last season as a top-five defense the Bucks have struggled mightily in that department to begin the 2015-16 campaign. Certainly poor point guard play along with turnovers and injuries can be a reason for the Bucks poor start to the season, but keeping the other team from scoring should be a priority.

In just 15 games played this season so far, the Bucks have proven that defense will win more games than it will give up. The difference between triple digits and double digits is often huge when taking a closer look at it.

That record is now 1-10 after the team’s latest losses to the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic, both of whom scored over 100 points against Milwaukee.

I’d like to take a look at two of maybe the most unlikely candidates to step up as defensive stoppers on a team that hasn’t really found their identity quite yet. While Greg Monroe has proven he will score and he will rebound, it is now time for him to prove he is dedicated to helping his new team be a force on defense once again.

And while “The Gadget” John Henson has been known for his presence around the rim in the past, he hasn’t had much success to start this season in limited minutes played so far.

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Unfortunately for the Bucks, and their fans, Michael Carter-Williams has been way more inconsistent than any of us would like in his time with Milwaukee. But he has shown flashes and we can only hope he gets it together as our floor general sooner rather than later.

But it doesn’t really matter how well your point guard plays if you can’t stop the other team from scoring when things go to the other end. With a starting lineup that consists of five guys 6’6” or taller it is absolutely amazing to me that they have given up more than 100 points in all of their ten losses.

Even though Coach Jason Kidd‘s ejection on Wednesday night was more about the whistle not being blown, he wanted to send a message to his own team as well. If you are not going to play defense, other NBA teams will take advantage, whether DeMarcus Cousins is healthy or not.

Now that all the starters are back healthy the starting lineup is just the way it should be with the young guys growing and learning to play together, but the bench rotation still seems to be a little shaky.

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It’s obvious Henson has struggled so far this season, but he hasn’t really had enough time to work out any kinks on the court anyways. He has missed some time with injury, but since returning he is only averaging about 15 minutes per game and about 6.8 points per game. Though his field goal percentage is over 50 percent he is only averaging about one block per contest so far.

While the offense struggled along with the defense to begin the season, the scoring has picked up. With Khris Middleton often getting into foul trouble early in games as of late, why not try to bring Henson in right off the bench before taking Monroe out also?

Despite having a few duds for games to begin the season, Monroe has been able to score so Henson won’t necessarily be relied on to put the ball in the basket but rather keep it out of the other basket. In fact, if Henson were on the floor with any of the starters other than Carter-Williams he wouldn’t ever have to touch the ball on the offensive end, unless of course he is snagging offensive boards.

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If Henson were in with Monroe a little more often you would think that would make Monroe even more effective in the game not having to worry too much about defense with another 6’11” body on the floor not named Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Unfortunately this idea may never come to fruition considering the fact that Coach Kidd doesn’t like to play multiple big men for too many minutes together. But if he is as defensive minded as we all thought after last season, then why not at least give it a shot? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.