3 Players that should be considered foundational pieces in the Blazers' rebuild

Before making essential offseason decisions, the Portland Trail Blazers should decide who is a core piece of their rebuilding process.
Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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2. Scoot Henderson

The Blazers' reigning No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft, Scoot Henderson, is a core piece in Portland's rebuild. After all, if the Blazers don't make Henderson an essential part of the rebuild, what was all the turmoil associated with the last offseason even for?

Henderson has had as underrated of a season as any No. 3 pick could in their first year. Henderson played 62 games in his rookie season, averaging 14.0 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds on shooting splits of 39/33/82. Two statistics that immediately stand out that suggest Henderson can benefit from improving his decision-making are his 3.4 turnovers per game and 39 percent shooting from the field, which ties into his shot selection.

Henderson's biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. His aggressive, downhill, attacking style of play frequently got him into trouble last season, but it's also the unique trait that made him stand out as a prospect in the first place.

To his credit, Henderson improved all aspects of his game as the season progressed, especially as a playmaker. He finally adjusted to the NBA's pace of play compared to the G League and played with more control, as evidenced by his 7.1 per game without an increase in turnovers following the All-Star break.

Typically, NBA guards take longer than other positions to succeed in the league, and Henderson's rookie season was no exception. His progression wasn't linear, but some were too quick to write him off as a bust, particualry during his struggles at the begining of his up-and-down season.

Henderson can refine multiple aspects of his game, and he's certainly not a finished product. But that should be reason for optimism, meaning he's far from reaching his potential. The Blazers have practically based their rebuild around the Scoot Henderson draft pick, and it would be wise to see it through.