NBA: Bobcats size up Henderson, Williams one more time
By Mike Cranston
CHARLOTTE ó Terrence Williams was so nervous at seeing Michael Jordan he was sweating profusely ó while stretching. Gerald Henderson was drier, but had to endure relentless grief about being a Duke guy.
As Jordan sat on an exercise bike just off the Bobcats’ practice court Monday, Williams and Henderson did their best to impress Charlotte’s managing partner, who could decide between the two shooting guards with the 12th pick in Thursday’s draft.
“He was talking all that Carolina mess,” Henderson said of the Tar Heels’ most famous hoops alum. “He said he had his old shorts underneath his jeans and if he took them off I’d be scared to death. He’s always talking junk. It’s cool, though.”
While it was the second time this month Henderson and Williams, from Louisville, auditioned for Bobcats coach Larry Brown, it was the first time Jordan attended one of Charlotte’s pre-draft workouts.
With the Bobcats lacking depth at shooting guard and with both players holding the defensive pedigree Brown craves, Jordan’s presence could signal the Bobcats are prepared to choose between the two if they’re still on the board Thursday night.
“They told me in my interview that Mr. Jordan was coming into town and they wanted me to come back,” Williams said. “It was an honor to be in the same city as Jordan, let alone the same gym.”
Jordan, Charlotte’s part-owner with the final say on basketball decisions, knocked down some mid-range jumpers after the workout, then slipped out a side door and didn’t address reporters.
It left Brown to offer his critique of Henderson and Williams, athletic, strong defenders who have slightly different games.
Brown sees the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Henderson, who left Duke after averaging 16.5 points as a junior, as strictly a shooting guard.
“I don’t think he’s even come close to tapping what he’s capable of doing,” Brown said.
Williams, listed at 6-6 and 220 pounds and a four-year starter with the Cardinals, could play both shooting guard and small forward and bring the ball up the court to beat a press, according to Brown.
“I think he’s a little bigger and stronger (than Henderson) right now,” Brown said. “I think they’re both going to have long NBA careers and be very productive.”
The Bobcats need to get starting shooting guard Raja Bell help. Bell turns 33 in September and was plagued with injuries late last season. There is no clear backup on the roster.
Charlotte may not get to choose between Henderson and Williams. New Jersey, which holds the 11th pick, is bringing in both players Tuesday.
“There are sources that say that with the Bobcats it’s between me and Gerald. There are sources that say with New Jersey it’s either me or Gerald,” Williams said. “It’s just an honor to be mentioned with those teams at those positions where they’re picking, not 20-something or 30-something.”
If Henderson ends up in Charlotte, he knows he’ll face constant ribbing from Jordan, Brown and the numerous other North Carolina alums in the organization.
“I can give it back, too,” Henderson said.
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