PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers selected NBA G League guard Scoot Henderson with the third overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The pick complicates things a bit for the Blazers, who already have an All-Star guard in Damian Lillard.
Known for his tenacity on the court, Henderson could be traded if Portland looks for a high-profile veteran to join Lillard. Or he could replace Lillard if the Blazers decided to rebuild. He could even pair up with Lillard on the Portland perimeter.
After the San Antonio Spurs took French teenager Victor Wembanyama with the first pick and the Charlotte Hornets pulled forward Brandon Miller from Alabama, Henderson fell to the Blazers at No. 3.
Henderson, a 6-foot-2 teenager from Georgia who has been compared to Russell Westbrook, spent two years with the G League Ignite. He has also connected with Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who offered Henderson support and resources.
Last season with Ignite, Henderson averaged 17.6 points and a team-high 6.5 assists. He also provides defense, something the Blazers badly needed. He graduated from high school in Marietta, Georgia, early to become the youngest player in G League history.
Henderson wore a bedazzled black bejeweled suit jacket to the draft.
“I’m young but I have a mature mindset, and that’s working and that’s going in and working and making a real impact, not just on the basketball side but in the community,” he said after his name was announced. .
Henderson’s full name is Sterling Jewell Henderson. He earned the nickname Scoot when he was a little boy and used to run around on the floor.
Henderson comes from a family of basketball players. Her younger sister, Crystal “Moochie” Henderson, is headed to the state of Georgia.
Portland also had the No. 23 pick, from New York, and the No. 43 pick in the second round, from Atlanta.
The Blazers missed the playoffs this season for the second straight year, finishing 33-49 and 13th in the Western Conference. That was despite the best efforts of Lillard, who was averaging a career-high 32.2 points per game, third-best in the league. But in the end, Portland was plagued by untimely injuries and inconsistent play.
The season was not without its some high points, namely Lillard’s 71-point game. He set the franchise and career record for him in a late February game against the Houston Rockets. He also finished the game with 13 three-pointers.
The team saw a spark in rookie Shaedon Sharpe, the seventh overall pick in the 2022 draft. He’s averaged 9.8 points in 79 games this season, wowing fans with a series of standout dunks.
With all the starters shut down at the end of the season when it became clear they couldn’t make the playoffs, Sharpe started Portland’s last nine games, scoring 20-plus points in all but one.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or inquiries, please contact us.