3 Takeaways from Trail Blazers 2023 NBA Summer League

Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Scoot Henderson (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Scoot Henderson (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

1. Scoot Henderson’s the real deal

Henderson’s time on the floor in Las Vegas may have been short, but it was still electric.

Before getting pulled in the third quarter against the Houston Rockets with a shoulder injury, Henderson’s athleticism, pull-up ability and playmaking shined.

He wasted no time displaying his pick-and-roll chops, using ball screens to sink three pull-up jumpers in the first quarter.

When Rockets’ forward Tari Eason went under a screen, Henderson comfortably stepped into a top-of-the-arc three, countering the pick-and-roll coverage he’ll likely face until he proves himself as a jump shooter.

As advertised, Henderson looked most comfortable getting downhill. In transition, Henderson used his combination of strength and speed to create advantages and finish at the rim. In one instance, his rim pressure drew four Rockets defenders, allowing him to toss a left-handed dart into Kris Murray’s shooting pocket, one of several plays that captured Henderson’s polish as a passer.

In half-court sets, Henderson looked under control, yet explosive. He methodically maneuvered ball screens to gain a step on his defender and used his explosiveness to blow through gaps in the defense.

Henderson’s weaknesses were also evident. After a hot shooting start, a handful of missed pull-up twos and threes left Henderson with a modest 5-for-13 from the field finish. The scouting report will tell defenders to go under his ball screens, so the development of Henderson’s outside shot will dictate how much of his potential he can unlock.

Although he’s not a complete player yet, Henderson showed off his unique combination of athleticism and feel that vaulted him to the top of draft boards while playing for G League Ignite. Even if Henderson’s jump shot never surpasses league-average, it’s easy to imagine him developing into a high-level primary creator.