Here's the latest Portland Trail Blazers news (Jan. 3), including an award nomination for Scoot Henderson, Ibou Badji's debut and Duop Reath's new place in Portland franchise history.
Scoot Henderson nominated for NBA Western Conference Player of the Week
Proof that Blazers rookie point guard Scoot Henderson has turned a corner came in the form of a nomination for the league's Western Conference Player of the Week Award.
He didn't win - the award went to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - but it's recognition that Henderson isn't playing like the tentative, turnover-prone rookie he was earlier this season.
In four games between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, Scoot averaged 20.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists. He shot 44.4 percent from three on 4.5 attempts per game and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line on 4.0 attempts a night.
That 3-point percentage is likely an outlier at this point in Henderson's career, but he had a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the week and has gotten to the line 3.7 times per game over his last 10 compared to 1.9 in his first 14.
Ibou Badji makes NBA debut, continues block party
Another player taking advantage of Portland's new G League affiliate, center Ibou Badji is averaging 2.7 blocks a night in 16 games this season with the Rip City Remix.
The 7-foot-1 Badji got his first taste of the NBA on Dec. 26 in a game against the Sacramento Kings, but he played less than 2 minutes and didn't record a stat.
Pressed into action with the injuries to Deandre Ayton and Duop Reath, the 21-year-old has averaged 16 minutes over the Blazers' last three games. He blocked three shots in 14 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 28, two more in 10 minutes the following night and another in 23 minutes against the Phoenix Suns.
Badji didn't start playing organized basketball until he was 14, which makes simply stepping foot on an NBA floor a success story for the Senegalese big man. But Portland has been searching for a true shot-blocker, so if Badji continues to develop with the Remix, he could end up in the league to stay at some point.
Duop Reath earns a place in franchise history
Bill Walton. Arvydas Sabonis.
And Duop Reath.
In the win over the Kings last week, Reath posted career highs in points (25) and rebounds (9). That puts him in rare Trail Blazers company:
Reath has been playing a crucial role for a Blazers bench group that's one of the most underrated in the NBA.