Providence lost a vital piece of their team when LaDontae Henton graduated, but what the Friars lost an NBA could gain this offseason.
Many experts do not believe that Henton will be drafted, but some think that teams could give him a summer league invitation. If Henton performs well, he could make it to an NBA training camp.
Here are five NBA teams where Henton could be a nice fit.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has done a fantastic job with the C's, and in a rebuilding year, brought them to the playoffs. Now they look to add pieces to build a team that can compete for a championship.
Boston did suffer some injuries down the stretch this season, but were not able to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers and one reason for that was inconsistent scoring.
Under Stevens, the Celtics have developed a great foundation defensively, which is what fueled their playoff run and allowed them to hang with the Cavs at times. The C's could use some instant energy off the bench that can shoot and is not afraid to take the contact inside. Isaiah Thomas provided them with great minutes off the bench this past season. However, Henton’s size and ability to rebound could give Boston another solid player off the bench.
Coach Stevens, who used to coach at Butler, has visited his former job a few times during the Big East season and likely watched many of their games. When Henton visited Hinkle Fieldhouse he dropped 18 points and had seven rebounds against arguably the best defensive team in the Big East.
Coincidence that Stevens worked him out?
Probably, but there might be something to that and regardless he have the Providence product a look.
Henton worked out with the Celtics on June 8 and could provide Boston with some physical toughness off the bench if they sign him.
Henton has also worked out for the 76ers and like many prospects could provide much needed helped to this terrible franchise.
Obviously, the 76ers need to fill many holes, especially after the news that former Kansas Jayhawk and top pick Joel Embiid could miss the entire 2015-16 season with another foot injury. Philly needs scoring and toughness. Henton has those qualities and could even get some minutes right away depending on Philadelphia’s plan.
The Sixers have an abundance of shooting guards and small forwards including Jerami Grant, Glenn Robinson III, former St. John’s guard JaKarr Sampson and others. For all we know those players could be gone in draft day trades, but if they stay Henton could struggle to make the team. However, what makes him a fit is his ability to score like a guard and rebound like a forward. All of the previously listed players are only good at one of those skills or average at both.
This may not be the best spot for Henton in the long run, but it could be good place to get a foot in the door and at the very least the workout shows that the Sixers have interest in the former Friar.
Brooklyn stand up!
Because you need some help and Henton could be the answer.
The Nets have the 29th and 41st picks in the draft and have some holes to fill despite squeaking into the playoffs last season. They could choose to address size in the draft and if they do that could leave the door open for Henton to possibly make the roster. Brooklyn needs toughness, rebounding and a versatile scorer. Henton brings all three of those skills to the table and with the competition around his size not too steep as the Nets are currently constructed he could be a fit.
Alan Anderson, Markel Brown and Thaddeus Young are the three players that could make it difficult on Henton to find a place on the team if the Nets give him a look. However, Anderson is now 32 years of age and Brown is a few inches shorter than Henton.
We are also not sure if the Nets are going to blow up this team and trade away players like Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. Henton, coming off the bench for Brooklyn, could help to sustain the scoring that the Nets hope the aforementioned Lopez, Johnson and Williams can bring as the starters coupled with the passion that seemly left the borough when Kevin Garnett went back to Minnesota.
Obviously the draft class in the Big East is weak. Henton is one of the only players from the conference that has a chance to make a roster and even his chances are slim.
However, one possible landing spot many might not be thinking about for Henton is with the Wizards.
Long term, it probably does not make sense because Washington hopes to bring Kevin Durant back home after next season through free agency. Short term, it could make all the sense in the world if Paul Pierce leaves, which according to reports is likely.
Henton, barring massive improvement, is not a future Hall of Famer like Pierce, but does have some "Truth" in him.
His ability to make clutch shots and his physicality are attributes that remind me a little bit of Pierce. The emergence of former Georgetown star Otto Porter Jr. will hurt Henton’s chances of even getting look, but Henton could be a bench player that comes in to battle on the boards and make something happen by driving to the basket.
Pierce checks in at 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds while Henton is 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds. Their body types are not far off.
Again, I am not saying that Henton is the left-handed version of Pierce, but if he can build on those qualities like Pierce did when he left Kansas, Henton could be a steal for the Wizards.
If Henton is going to make an NBA roster, the hometown Pistons might be his best bet. The Lansing, Michigan native has been a fan of Detroit his entire life and said after his June 13 workout with the Pistons that he grew up loving the "Bad Boys" and Chauncey Billups, a.k.a. "Mr. Big Shot."
When interviewed after his workout, Henton thought that it went well and talked about how Detroit was focusing on using him at the shooting guard position. He would focus on making NBA 3-pointers and providing instant energy off of the bench if the Pistons brought him in.
The Pistons have so much size on their team and it makes sense that they are looking to improve their guard play. Right now, the Detroit Pistons have two shooting guards on their roster in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks. It is safe to say that Henton could give both of them a run for their money. However, Detroit will likely try to address the guard issue in the draft with the 8th overall selection. If they decide to take a Stanley Johnson out of Arizona or Devin Booker from Kentucky, Henton might not be thought of as highly.
For now, the dream of Henton playing for his favorite team is still within reach and after being spurned by Michigan State coming out of high school, he would like nothing more than for play for his hometown Pistons.