Sixers 2016-17 Player Evaluation: Gerald Henderson

Gerald Henderson

Position: Shooting Guard

Status for 2017-18: Guaranteed -- $9,000,000

Henderson in 2016-17
After years of sitting out free agency, the Sixers finally dipped their toes in with Henderson becoming one of a few signings during the 2016 offseason. It was a homecoming for Henderson, who played his high school ball at nearby Episcopal Academy. With fellow Sixer signee Jerryd Bayless playing just five games, Henderson played the most of the Sixers' vets, taking part in 72 games while starting 41. 

Beyond simply providing a veteran presence, Henderson was a solid contributor on the court. He took on a few more minutes and shots than he had off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015-16, yet kept his shooting mostly the same. He averaged 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest while shooting 42.4 percent from the field. He tied his career-high with a 35.3 percent mark from three-point range.

The 29-year-old Duke product played a lesser role than he did early in his career with Charlotte yet still put up some of his best numbers in shooting and scoring efficiency. He missed 10 games over the course of the season, some due to rest and one was a DNP -- coach's decision. However, most of that was due to a sore left hip that plagued him at different times throughout the 2016-17 campaign.

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Adding a brief footnote to his season, Henderson got into a kerfuffle with Indiana Pacers star Paul George in the Sixers' penultimate game of the year. Both players were ejected and later fined after throwing elbows at each other during the fourth quarter of the Pacers' 120-111 win.

Signature game
With Joel Embiid out in late January, Henderson took on the offensive burden in Milwaukee on Jan. 25. Taking just 11 shots, the veteran shooting guard made seven baskets and went for 20 points, tied for a season-high. He made two of four from three-point range and also corralled two rebounds.

Beyond simply scoring in volume, Henderson came up clutch. Coming back into the game late in the fourth quarter, he put the team ahead with a pair of free throws and later a jumper, helping the Sixers win their fifth game in six tries. 

In November, he had a 19-point effort against the Heat on just eight shots, making all three attempts from beyond the arc. The 19 points were second on the team to Embiid during a 101-94 win, which preceded an eight-game losing skid. The win may have had extra meaning for Henderson as he defeated (and dunked on) his former high school teammate and best friend, Wayne Ellington.

Looking ahead to 2017-18
Henderson will be playing the second and final year of his contract next season and he could see a diminished role.

Beyond a fight for minutes at shooting guard with Nik Stauskas and potentially Bayless, the Sixers will likely add shooting to the roster this offseason and that may mean drafting a shooting guard. That move wouldn't necessarily hurt Henderson's minutes at first, yet a developing shooting guard could slowly sap his minutes away.

If the team does bring in a young shooting guard, Henderson's veteran presence will be even more important. He'll be entering his ninth season in the NBA and he's one of the few players on the current roster with postseason experience. Henderson can serve as a mentor to the team's younger guards, whether it be a draft pick or Stauskas and T.J. McConnell

On Henderson
"Gerald Henderson is an experienced veteran that will bring professionalism and leadership to our young group and developing team culture."
- Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo last offseason

"He wanted to come back and I think it's a good thing because a player has to want to come to the town they want to play in. This just worked out so fine"
- Gerald Henderson Sr. on his son signing in Philly

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