4-Time All-Star's career shows how Scoot Henderson can recover from nightmare season

Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson’s numbers compare favorably to this four-time All-Star’s rookie season.
Portland Trail Blazers, Scoot Henderson
Portland Trail Blazers, Scoot Henderson / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers saw a future star in Scoot Henderson. They had the number three pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and Damian Lillard wanted them to trade for immediate upgrades. Joe Cronin and the front office decided to select Dame's replacement with the belief that Henderson would eventually blossom into a star.

It has been a forgettable rookie season for the 20-year-old. He is averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.7 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Those numbers do not sound awful until fans factor in his 38.0 percent shooting from the field and 30.5 percent on his threes. Every player on the Blazers roster has a negative net rating this season, but Henderson’s -12.9 is the worst of anyone with 25-plus games played.

There have been flashes and his numbers have improved as the Blazers have entered full tank mode. There is plenty of panic, but fans should not worry as Scoot’s rookie stats compare favorably to those produced by a four-time All-Star.

Kemba Walker provides plenty of hope for Blazers fans worried about Scoot Henderson

The Hornets were known as the Bobcats in 2012 when their rookie point guard led them to the worst record in NBA history. Charlotte won just seven of 66 regular season games in the lockout-shortened season, and the ninth overall pick averaged 12.1 points, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 27.2 minutes per game. Walker shot 36.6 percent from the field and 30.5 percent on his threes as a rookie. It was a disastrous season but did not ruin his career.

Kemba averaged 17 points each night and finished 11th in Most Improved Player balloting in year two. He had the Hornets in the playoffs in his third season and made four straight All-Star appearances from 2017 to 2020. Walker also entered the league with a questionable jumper but transformed into a plus-shooter during his prime.

Scoot is three inches taller and match Kemba's athleticism. Rookie point guards often struggle but do not shoot as poorly as these two top-ten picks. Russell Westbrook, Darius Garland, and Mike Conley all produced similar stat lines but shot north of 40 percent from the field. Each turned into an All-Star and elite playmaker.

Fans cannot write off Scoot Henderson because he struggled as a teenager adjusting to the most difficult league in the world. Over his last 18 games, Henderson is averaging 16.1 points, 5.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 29.6 minutes on 40.3 percent shooting from the field and 32.5 percent on his threes. Those stats are inching closer to Kemba in year two and should provide optimism for the Rip City faithful.

There was hope Scoot would become a superstar, and it is still possible. Russell Westbrook won an MVP and is a future Hall of Famer after shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 27.1 percent on his 3-point attempts as a rookie. He played more and offered more stats, but even elite point guards often struggle in their first NBA season.

Will Scoot Henderson become a star or a draft bust? It is too early to tell, but the Portland Trail Blazers will do everything they can to help his development. All fans can do is stay tuned for a wild ride.