Blazers draft Scoot Henderson: Instant analysis, scouting report, fit, grade

Scoot Henderson at the 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Scoot Henderson at the 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

After a long wait that felt far, far longer than it really was, Scoot Henderson will head to Rip City as the No. 3 overall pick in perhaps the most important Portland Trail Blazers draft choice in franchise history.

It’s important to note that none of what happens tonight is official until opening night on Oct. 24. There may be, and likely are, more moves to come from general manager Joe Cronin.

For now, though, Scoot will join Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Shaedon Sharpe to form one of the deepest, most talented and most athletic backcourts in the NBA.

Scoot Henderson scouting report

At first glance, Henderson is all the things Portland doesn’t need. A 6-foot-2 guard who could get exposed on defense. Ball-dominant. 19 years old. A poor outside shooter.

But digging deeper, those flaws aren’t as significant as they appear to be, and there are so many other things Scoot brings to the table – some that can be measured and some that can’t. He’s strong, explosive, competitive and, although it’s cliché, will undoubtedly put in the work to become great.

He’s the most explosive athlete in this class. Alongside Sharpe, the Blazers will be building perhaps the most athletic backcourt in the NBA long term.

Henderson wants to humiliate anyone on the floor if they’re standing between him and the basket, and he usually does. Moda Center would be rocking whenever Scoot has the ball in his hands.

Other than being a shaky spot-up shooter, there isn’t much the 19-year-old can’t do offensively. He can beat defenders off the dribble in isolation and pick-and-roll situations, can stop on a dime and rise up for mid-range jumpers, and can contort himself to finish in just about any way possible at the rim.

His potential as a defensive liability is overblown. Scoot has a 6-9 wingspan – the same as Amen Thompson, who’s considered one of the best defenders in this class – and his strength, quickness, and competitiveness will make him more than passable on that end of the floor.

How does Scoot Henderson fit with the Trail Blazers?

Scoot is the second-best prospect in the 2023 draft, so landing him at No. 3 is a steal.

Yes, he’s another 6-foot-2 guard next to a 6-2 guard in Lillard and a 6-3 guard in Simons, but at this point, fit isn’t the biggest concern. There’s likely another trade coming at some point to clear the log jam in the Trail Blazers’ backcourt, and the franchise did the smart thing by taking the best available player.

Even if there isn’t a trade in the works, Henderson is a better fit in Portland than some people think. He’s already stated he’s willing to do whatever it takes to fit in alongside Dame, someone he’s already developed a relationship with.

He has every offensive tool in his bag with the exception of a three-point shot – for now. He’s absurdly competitive, strong, explosive, athletic, and has been playing professionally since he was 17 years old.

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Scoot may not be the ideal fit on paper, but he’s the kind of person and player who’s determined enough to put the work in and find a way to fit.

Once Lillard moves on – whether that’s soon or when he retires – Scoot is the Blazers next franchise superstar.

Grade: A+

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The Blazers will be on the clock next with the No. 23 pick.