CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 26: John Henson #31 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for a rebound with Richard Howell #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during play at the Dean Smith Center on January 26, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 74-55. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
With the 5th pick in the 2012 draft, the Kings decide to play it safe and go for what they see as the best player who fills a need for them and also isn't much of a risk by drafting John Henson.
Most fans do not like the pick, but are at least thankful that the team did not draft Tyler Zeller as many mocks reported they might do prior to the draft. Zeller ends up going much further down in the lottery to Milwaukee at 12.
On paper, Henson provides some significant needs for the Kings, namely shotblocking and a good rebounding presence. However, there are issues with his offense (nonexistent outside of 10 feet) and his weight and overall athleticism. At 216 lbs, he weighs less than his new teammate Tyreke Evans. Per the Draft Combine athletic measurements, Henson also lacks explosiveness (with only a 30" maximum vert) and overall strength (being able to do just 5 repetitions of the bench press).
The concerns end up outweighing the benefit. Henson's frame is not very conducive to adding on weight, and when he tries to add weight too quickly, it isn't good weight, leaving him in poor conditioning on the court.
Henson's defensive prowess has trouble translating to the NBA level. NBA big men are much more savvy around the basket and simply better in every possible way than the ones Henson faced in college. In one-on-one situations, Henson is backed down easily, and his penchant for trying to block shots inevitably leads to a lot of goaltends and silly fouls as he tries to adjust to the NBA game.
Henson's rebounding also takes a nosedive in the NBA. In college, his length and good positioning allowed him to snag a bunch of boards, but he is moved out of position much more easily in the NBA.
The Kings opt to take a slower approach with Henson after it becomes apparent that he's not ready. This causes a lot of fans to immediately declare Henson a bust and another lottery pick wasted. Because of this, Geoff Petrie is fired and the Maloofs decide to take over Basketball Operations themselves.
The Kings proceed to win just 2% of the rest of their basketball games before the NBA contracts the team "for the good of the league".