Scoot Henderson’s No. 3 Development: Defensive intangibles and consistency
Henderson must address his defensive intangibles and consistency to become a more well-rounded player. While he’s already impactful offensively at the NBA level, concerns were raised about Henderson’s defense with the Ignite.
One glaring issue was the Ignite’s pick-and-roll defense while Henderson was on the team. The NBA is such a heavy pick-and-roll league – which should benefit him on offense – but it could also be a concern on defense. Henderson needs to develop a better understanding of when to go over or under screens, communicate with teammates, and when to switch.
There were numerous occasions during Henderson’s time with the Ignite when the opposing team got an easy bucket due to a defensive breakdown because two players were guarding the same ballhandler after a screen.
Improving his help-side defensive rotations is another crucial aspect for Henderson to address. Being in the correct position to provide support when a teammate is beaten off the dribble or to contest shots near the rim is essential for the Blazers’ defense.
A better understanding of when and where to provide help defense will contribute significantly to his defensive effectiveness.
Furthermore, Henderson must eliminate lapses in both on-ball and off-ball defense. Eliminating defensive lapses, such as losing focus or getting caught out of position, will make him a more reliable defender.
Lastly, Henderson should develop his closeouts. Improving his technique and aggressiveness in closing out on shooters will make it harder for the opposition to score from beyond the arc and contribute to overall defensive success. There have been situations in which Henderson is too stagnant or flat-footed when closing out on shooters, which will only be more difficult as he transitions into the NBA.
Henderson will never be a versatile defender in terms of switchability at 6-foot-2. But he has the strength and athleticism to be a net positive on defense despite his size, as long as he can improve the aspects he can control.