Trail Blazers news: Ayton sets career high, Scoot's regression, updated lottery odds

The latest Trail Blazers news for March 19 as Ayton stays hot and Scoot stays not.

Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers
Deandre Ayton, Portland Trail Blazers / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

Here's the latest Portland Trail Blazers news for March 19, including Deandre Ayton setting a personal best, Scoot Henderson struggling again and a look at the updated 2024 NBA Draft lottery odds.

Deandre Ayton sets career high in consistency

"Consistency" and "Deandre Ayton" have gone together like peanut butter and tuna fish. The 2018 draft's No. 1 pick has been tantalizingly good for stretches, but his play and effort have waxed and waned.

He still has plenty more to prove, but the 25-year-old's recent explosion has been the best run of his career.

With a 25-point, 15-rebound, 2-block performance in a loss to the Chicago Bulls, Ayton has scored 20 or more points in six consecutive games for the first time in his five-plus NBA seasons. Over that stretch, his 26.8 points per game lead all centers and his 15.0 rebounds rank second.

He doesn't need to average 26 and 15, but Ayton still has a long way to go to prove he's one of the league's best centers as his head coach and contract suggest. Still, he's statistically playing some of the best basketball of his career.

Scoot Henderson has taken a giant step back

After rebounding from a difficult start to his NBA career, Scoot Henderson made the necessary adjustments and had been playing well enough that head coach Chauncey Billups gave him the Blazers' starting point guard job back.

In the nine games before that promotion, Scoot posted averages of 15.0 points and 4.7 assists on 42/41/98 shooting splits while turning the ball over less than two times a night.

Then bad luck struck and Henderson aggravated an adductor injury playing in the Rising Stars Tournament at all-star weekend. He missed eight games and returned on March 9, but the Scoot from the past six games isn't the Scoot from before the all-star break.

Since he came back, Henderson looks like the player he was in November and December before he turned the proverbial corner. His assist numbers are still there, but he's barely scoring 10 points a game, is averaging more than 3 turnovers and is shooting 34 percent from the field and 18 percent from three.

Hopefully, he's just rusty after missing three weeks, or maybe he's playing hurt. Whatever it is, Scoot's regression is concerning and there's not much time left in the season to course correct.

2024 NBA Draft lottery odds (March 19)

With three straight losses and seven in their last nine games, the Trail Blazers have fallen to 19-49 on the season. Veterans Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon have now missed extended periods and Matisse Thybulle came into the Bulls' game questionable with an ankle injury and left after five minutes.

Add that all up and it's time for a check on the draft lottery standings.

Portland's holding steady with the fifth-best odds at landing the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft. The Charlotte Hornets are two games ahead of the Blazers for fourth, the San Antonio Spurs are four games up on PDX for third and the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons are battling it out for the top spot.

There are 14 games left in the regular season.