Scoot Henderson’s future impact on Blazers
As mentioned, Henderson’s fit in the short-term is murky if he lands in Portland. The team will have an excessive number of talented yet undersized guards. In addition, they will still have roster weaknesses to fix at the forward and center positions. As a result, one of the Blazers’ guards could be the odd man out if Henderson is selected.
Lillard’s situation regarding the draft and his desire to trade the No. 3 pick for veteran talent appears less black-and-white than some have made it out to be. In other words, there is still a scenario in which Lillard and Henderson remain on the roster and Lillard doesn’t demand a trade if the Blazers keep the pick.
In that case, Simons could be the odd man out.
One attractive option would be to trade Simons and the No. 23 pick for a player who would help address Portland’s needs better. A few centers who seem viable options and would be better fits include Myles Turner, Deandre Ayton, or Clint Capela. In terms of wings, Brooklyn is the most intriguing trade partner with many wings, including Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’ Neale.
Trading Simons would clear the log jam of guards. Scoot could be an excellent sixth man that still plays significant minutes off the bench and provides plenty of energy. Sharpe proved at the end of last season that he’s ready to take on a more prominent role, too, and seems prepared to step up as a starter if needed.
Long term, the Blazers would have a clear-cut future backcourt in Henderson and Sharpe. That could be the most explosive guard duo in the entire NBA. Lillard would be able to transition into more of a role player, as he likely will be able to play late into his career given his elite shooting.
If the Blazers can package Simons in part of a deal for a versatile wing or center and re-sign Grant, they’d only have one positional need left to fill.
Brandon Miller’s future impact on Blazers
Much like Miller’s short-term impact, his long-term outlook for the Blazers is much simpler to project than Henderson’s. A trade likely wouldn’t even be necessary as long as Lillard is content.
Assuming Sharpe continues on his All-Star trajectory, Portland could roll out a backcourt of Lillard and Sharpe with Simons coming off the bench (and still getting significant minutes) in a sixth-man role. Simons is a combo guard who has an ideal skill set to fill in for both Lillard and Sharpe. As Lillard ages, Simons could also take on the starting point guard role.
If Portland can re-sign Grant, it could have a future starting lineup of Lillard, Sharpe, Miller, Grant, and Nurkic. The next thing on the to-do list would be to replace Nurkic with a switchable big.
However, that lineup is intriguing, with a great combination of shooting, athleticism, size, and untapped potential between Sharpe, Miller, and Simons coming off the bench.
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Barring any significant changes, Scoot Henderson seems to be the projected selection for the Blazers (as of now). Regardless, it’s exciting that the Blazers have the No. 3 pick in a draft in which there is a consensus top three.