3 Reasons the Trail Blazers could be postseason contenders in 2023-24

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Scoot Henderson is a reason why the Portland Trail Blazers could be postseason contenders.
Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Reason No. 2: Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe are more ready than you think

Scoot showed at the 2023 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that he has a more advanced game than most 19-year-old rookies – and he should, considering he started playing professionally with the G League Ignite at age 17.

It became clear in less than three quarters that Henderson has the intelligence and physical abilities to run an NBA team from day one. He’s not prime Chris Paul yet, but he’s beginning a similar trajectory.

He showed a patience in pick-and-rolls that most rookies don’t possess. He took his time, probing and reading the defense before making a decision, whether that was a pull-up jumper, a drive to the basket, a drive and kick or a pass to a big man near the rim.

At the same time, he proved just how athletic and explosive he is by blowing past defenders and scoring at the rim with relative ease.

Meanwhile, Sharpe showed at the end of last season that he already has the ability to be the No. 1 or No. 2 option on offense. He’s still raw and needs to learn the intricacies on both ends of the floor at an NBA level, but the skills are obviously there.

He still settles for pull-up jumpers and threes when he can use his athleticism to get to the rim, and he isn’t a playmaker yet. But as he’ll be the third or fourth option in Portland this year, those flaws won’t be as detrimental to what the Blazers want to do.

Regardless, the team has 19- and a 20-year-olds with unbelievable physical skills ready to contribute right now.