Gerald Henderson Excited and Ready for First Sixers Season
The Sixers made several moves over the summer to stabilize their talented, albeit young and inexperienced roster. One such move was the addition of veteran SG – and Philadelphia native – Gerald Henderson.
Henderson comes to the Sixers after several seasons in Charlotte and a single season in Portland, and the Philadelphia product is excited to play for his hometown team, and to help them build back up into a contender.
“It’s a dream come true to play for your hometown team,” Henderson told me on a recent episode of the 76ers Report. “I watched the Sixers while I was growing up in the area during the era of Allen Iverson and watched that group get to the Finals. Everybody knows how much the city was in love with that team. And that’s what we want to bring back to the city.”
Matching the excitement of those Iverson-led Sixers squads will be a tough task – and the Sixers are a way away as currently constructed – but Henderson sees a lot of potential in his new team.
“I think we can only really go up in terms of how good we are going to be. We got a group of young guys, very talented guys that are eager to get better, eager to win.”
Though he has achieved veteran status in the NBA, Henderson, 28, will be tasked with a slightly different role this season than the one he is accustomed to: locker room leadership. With so many young, impressionable players on the roster, Henderson will be looked to for guidance, both on and off the court.
“[The Sixers] emphasized to me how important my leadership role would be as one of the older guys on the team,” Henderson told me. “Teaching guys how to work. What to do. What not to do. They have been very clear what they expect from me and that is something I am looking forward to.”
Like his role, Henderson’s game will be altered slightly to fit in with the Sixers’ style of play – namely, floor-spacing.
“My bread and butter will still be my mid-range game but 3-point shooting is something that I have worked on more than anything over the last few years,” the former Duke Blue Devil explained.
With bigs like Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor demanding low-post attention, and a playmaker of Ben Simmons caliber making plays for his teammates, Henderson’s ability to knock down open looks and spread the floor will be crucial. Luckily, he feels confident in his ability to do so.
“I’m confident in that [three-point shot]. I don’t like to settle, but if I got it, especially a corner three, I am going to let it fly.”
Though Henderson may not necessarily anticipate a playoff berth in his first season in Philadelphia, he does have some solid expectations for his new team.
“I know one thing is that we are going to bring a style of basketball that people will enjoy watching*. We are going to play hard every night - Coach Brown will demand that of us. We have high character guys that will be unselfish and about winning. When you can combine those things, it’s not saying you are going to win, but you have a chance to win every night. Mix some talent in there, which we do have, and I think it’s looking up for us.”