Blazers news: Scoot's starting job, rookies recognized, skidding into all-star break

As a team, Portland is entering the all-star break in a bad spot. Scoot Henderson and a pair of other rookies are more than fine, though.

Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers
Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Here's the latest Portland Trail Blazers news heading into 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend, including Scoot Henderson's official promotion, some recognition for a pair of other standout rookies and the team's ill-timed losing streak.

Scoot Henderson: Starting point guard

It took until the all-star break of his rookie season, but Scoot Henderson is officially the Portland Trail Blazers' starting point guard.

Head coach Chauncey Billups made the announcement before the team's Feb. 15 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, per Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian/Oregon Live:

"I just want him to earn everything and he’s doing just that. So, it’s just that time. I’m proud of him but he’s doing it. Not me."

Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups

Scoot's full-season stats don't do his development this year justice. After a poor start to his rookie campaign, Henderson is averaging 14.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists since Dec. 26.

In the 10 games before the Blazers were blown out by the Timberwolves on Feb. 15, Scoot shot 38 percent from three, 98 percent from the free-throw line on more than 4 attempts a night and managed a better than 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

For a player who couldn't hit a three, turned the ball over way too much and played hesitant early in the year, those are massive improvements. Billups is right - it's not just that the Blazers are tanking and Scoot needs the minutes - he's proven it's his time to start.

Henderson, Camara, Reath recognized

The Ringer's J. Kyle Mann updated his rookie rankings on Feb. 15 and some unheralded Blazers (surprisingly) earned some praise. Scoot came in at No. 9 and two more Portland debutants rounded out the top 15: Toumani Camara and Duop Reath.

Of Camara, Mann wrote:

"You have to read between the lines and actually watch him play. ... There’s a subtle savviness to his game, and he manages to give a consistent level of engagement regardless of whether he’s touching the ball. He rebounds his position well and cleans up messes on offense. ... I doubt we’ll ever see Camara facilitate beyond directing traffic in handoffs or reversing the ball—though those skills could become immensely helpful to the Blazers should they choose to preserve their young core of scoring-minded guards. I think he’ll be hard to keep off of the floor."

J. Kyle Mann, The Ringer

Of Reath, he wrote:

"I’m guessing introductions are in order? The 27-year-old Duop (pronounced dwahp) has emerged to become the only player on a two-way contract in this rookie ranking.

I’d say (in my best Morgan Freeman voice) that Duop crawled to the NBA through five years of international leagues, summer rosters, training camps, FIBA tournaments, and ups and downs that I can’t even imagine. His version of the rock hammer was his ability to shoot the ball. He’s exclusively a catch-and-shoot guy, but his ability to stretch the floor as a popping big has translated everywhere he’s gone."

J. Kyle Mann, The Ringer

Appreciate you, Kyle. Not a lot of Duop Reath stans outside of Portland.

Trail Blazers skidding into the all-star break

After going 5-4 between Jan. 17 and Jan. 31, Portland enters all-star weekend on a six-game losing streak. It's been a season of ups and downs and this six-game run isn't even the Blazers' longest of the year, but it's a disappointing end to what's been a strong last few weeks.

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But it won't get any easier; Portland's first game out of the break is against the Denver Nuggets (Feb. 23, 7 p.m. PT).