The often forgotten Xavier Henry was the twelfth overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2010 NBA draft, and then spent last season playing a limited roll for the New Orleans Pelicans before signing this offseason with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although he is not yet the scoring threat in the NBA that he was in college — he was the first KU freshman since Paul Pierce to score 30 points in a game — he is still very young, and will now get the chance to learn from one of the greatest scorers of all time in Kobe Bryant.
In the Lakers’ first preseason game against the Golden State Warriors Saturday night, Henry went off for an impressive 29 points. He showed versatility as a scoring threat, going 50 percent from downtown, yet also repeatedly getting to the rim and the foul line where he shot a not too shabby 9-of-11. Throughout all this scoring, he also managed to pull down seven rebounds.
Although you can’t read too far into a performance like this so early in the preseason, it shows that Henry is still a talented and energetic young basketball player, which is exactly what an old, and getting older, Lakers squad needs. With Henry being only 22 years old, he has plenty of time to improve his game behind the likes of Bryant, Nick Young and Jodie Meeks, while only costing the Lakers a little over $2 million a year. If he continues to put up performances similar to this one, you then have a talented young scorer at a bargain price.
The Lakers lacked a scoring presence off the bench last season, and with Bryant’s status for the beginning of the season up in the air, it will be good to have Xavier Henry around for added support.
It’s pronounced ZAH-vee-ay. Get used to it.