Around this time last year, Myke Henry was wrapping up a rookie season that could only be regarded as disappointing. On a beefed-up OKC Blue squad that featured Alex Caruso, Daniel Hamilton, Dakari Johnson, Reggie Williams and Josh Huestis, he spent most of his rookie year in the back of their rotation, despite a solid college career with DePaul.
In only 13 minutes per game, Henry averaged only 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game on 38% from the field and 23% from beyond the arc. Although his limited playing time probably had something to do with his inefficient play, it would be fair to say that he really never got much of an opportunity as he only played a total of 460 minutes during his rookie season.
Fortunately, Henry didn’t let that rough rookie season deter him as his play just took a total 180 degree turn once he was set to begin the 2017-18 season with the OKC Blue. With a slightly increased role, he just started the season guns a blazing.
During the month of November, Henry averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals on 53% from the field and 36% from 3 on 4.4 perimeter attempts in only 29 minutes per game. That great play extended into December and early January as his numbers elevated to 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2 steals per game on 52% from field and 37% from 3.
That great play combined with a solid performance against the Texas Legends in the 1st day of the G League Showcase pushed the Memphis Grizzlies to give Henry a 10-day deal on January 13th. Henry getting signed to that deal meant that he would play with the Memphis Hustle while also spending up to 45-days in the NBA with the Grizzlies.
Although Henry struggled with inconsistency during his 18 games with the Grizzlies, he just continued to light it up with the Hustle. In an increased role, his efficiency as a shooter skyrocketed as he put up 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists on 46% from the field and an impressive 44% from 3 on 7.2 perimeter attempts per game. Considering that his previous best percentage from beyond the arc was 37% back when he was with DePaul, him becoming a fantastic perimeter shooter is a pretty intriguing development.
After a rough rookie season where he barely was able to get on the court, the fact that Henry was able to get an NBA deal due to just being a dominating offensive threat is just extremely impressive. That improvement is why I’m naming Myke Henry as Ridiculous Upside’s 2017-18 NBA G League Most Improved Player of the Year.
Runner-Ups: Tyrone Wallace - Agua Caliente/Los Angeles Clippers: In a similar vein to Henry, Wallace was able to overcome a rough rookie season to become one of the best players in the NBA. As a rookie with the SLC Stars, he struggled 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 45% from field in only 27 minutes per game. However, those numbers just took a drastic improvement when he made his way to the AC Clippers as Wallace put up 22.5 points, 5.3 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 51% from the field.
That great play led to him receiving a 2-way deal with the LA Clippers, where he instantly shined as a rotation player. Although his improvement is definitely impressive, Henry’s rise from a bench warmer to an elite G Leaguer/NBA prospect gave him a slight edge over Wallace.
Last year’s winner: Briante Weber - Sioux Falls Skyforce