Friday, July 8, 2016

Gerald Henderon to the Sixers, or Welcome to the (Adam) Silver Age

Stupid Adam Silver can't contain my rage...

So my laundry is continuing to regress to the mean, this time with journeyman swingman Gerald Henderson for 2 years and $18 million, and if a borderline 8 figure salary offends your sensibilities, well... um... that's just where the NBA is right now. Especially for the great unwashed hundreds of middle-aged NBA players, which the current cap situation is absolutely working for. Stars and kids are getting less than they should, and the middle and lower classes are getting a lot more. From a union perspective of a lot of guys paying dues, it works. From a fan's standpoint, not so much. And from an owner's, well, they only ever pay out the same percentage that they have to, and draw television and advertising money from six continents now. It's only bad if you want to bitch that your license to print money isn't satisfying you by printing enough.

Anyway, back to Hen Don't.

He's 28 now, ancient by Sixer standards, and on his third NBA team. He spent his first six years not making Charlotte very happy, then the last year in Portland not getting burn for one of the worst bench units for a playoff team. He's local from kid days, a Dookie who is one of those mid first round picks based on pedigree and athleticism that never really develops enough of an offensive game to capitalize on the early promise, and hasn't ever put up more than 15 points a game, even when he was starting for a Hornet squad that had no better ideas for playing time. If he's still in the league in five years, you'll know he's got a great personality, because his stroke from the arc isn't getting it done, and his defense won't get any better as he moves out of his prime. If you want to say nice things about him, he shoots free throws better than most, hasn't shown up on the police blotter, and has 10,000 NBA minutes and a lifetime of being around the league. So if you want to call him the swingman version of last year's Elton Brand signing, but with more tread on the tires, I guess there's not all that much harm in it.

But it's the banality of evil that gets me, honestly. Henderson has been to the playoffs twice in seven years, and hasn't been on a team that's won a series. He's not getting better, he won't be something you can flip for assets later, and he won't be part of the team when they contend for anything. He's got no real chance of developing his game more than what it is right now, and the time you give him is time that won't go to a Robert Covington, a Jerami Grant, or Hollis Thompson. All of those guys aren't good basketball players now, but all of those guys still have a shot at being good basketball players later. Henderson doesn't.

So why is he here? Because the Colangelos, maneuvered into position by NBA commissioner Adam Silver to replace dark genius Sam Hinkie, need this franchise to win an utterly inconspicuous number of games next year. Not low enough to continue to depress attendance when the Sixers come to your town, and not high enough to make anyone else think that long view tanking in a relegation-free league is viable, even though it, well, totally is. The Gerald Hendersons of the world, along with refs that won't give the benefit of the doubt to young bigs, poor free throw shooting, injuries and a lack of three point shooting, will make sure that there will be no super-strong story for the Sixers in 2016-17, and that no one will give Hinkie another gig.

And if it bothers you that the commish is more or less asserting his authority in ways that would be scandalous in any other league... well, remember, he got rid of Donald Sterling, too. Which we were all fine with, because, well, Donald Sterling.

But feel free to boo the hell out of him the next time he's in town. Because Philly Fan just loves to boo, and never has any cause for the negativity...

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