LAS VEGAS — Aaron Henry knows about battling through adversity.
So being a two-way player for the 76ers instead of a drafted rookie doesn’t bother him. The former Michigan State standout preferred signing as a free agent over several opportunities to be selected in the second round of June 29′s NBA draft.
In June, the 6-foot-6 small forward suffered an ill-timed quadriceps strain at the NBA combine in Chicago. Playing it safe, Henry was held out of the remaining on-court activities in front of NBA personnel.
But he was determined to make up for the missed opportunity to make an impression during pre-draft workouts. So despite the injury, Henry worked out for 12 teams in 19 days. Along the way, he made a good impression on the Sixers during one of the workouts.
That led to his acquiring the two-way contract moments after the draft concluded. That came after a couple of teams expressed a desire to select him late in the second round.
“In a way we did,” he said of turning down opportunities to get drafted. “It was just what I was comfortable with. It’s a dream to hear your name called and be on that stage and everything.
“But as you get older and understand more things and have people in your corner that have been in situations, you try to be in the grand scheme and the big picture comes into play, and understanding the type of player I am, [this decision] is for the long run.”
The 21-year-old believes being a Sixer will benefit his career down the road.
Asked specifically what separated the Sixers from other squads, Henry said “It’s Brotherly Love. They are good people. They treat everybody the same. You know, it’s honesty and love all around. That’s what I’m about.”
At the same time, Henry has to be determined to show people the Sixers got a steal.
At Michigan State, he averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game this past season as a junior. Several mock drafts had the Louisville native projected to be a late first- or early second-round selection.
“Since we got him, you can see his versatility,” said Sixers assistant Brian Adams, who’s coaching the summer league team. “He can defend multiple positions. He can defend one-on-one and in the schemes we have. He’s picked up everything really fast.”
Offensively, Henry can play off the ball, whether he’s cutting to the basket or spacing the floor. He’s a good slasher. He’s a solid shooter, but needs to be more consistent.
“Really he’s a great kid,” Adams said. “It’s cool to have him. You know when you get a kid from Michigan State, you know because of [Michigan State coach] Tom Izzo they are going to be tough as nails and he’s definitely that. ... I think he’s got a real future in this league.”
Danny Green signs contract
Sixers small forward Danny Green signed a two-year, $20 million contract to remain with the Sixers on Saturday. Green, 34, averaged 9.5 points and shot 40.5% on three-pointers this past season. He also had a career-high-tying 1.3 steals per game and 0.8 blocks while playing in 69 of 72 regular-season games.