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Blazers’ Scoot Henderson ‘Ready to Embrace’ Franchise PG Role

Damian Lillard could be traded by the Portland Trail Blazers this summer, and if he is, Scoot Henderson is ready for what’s next.

2023 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Scoot Henderson is ready to step up.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor spoke with Henderson shortly after his lone Summer League appearance against the Houston Rockets.

O’Connor began by asking about the hottest topic in Portland right now, Damian Lillard. Henderson was asked about how he would respond to Dame either leaving or staying.

O’Connor: Ultimately it’s making the best of the situation. If he happens to come back, it’s opportunities for you to grow off-ball.

Scoot: Exactly.

O’Connor: If he’s not back, you’re thrown right in the driver’s seat.

Scoot: Exactly. And I’m with that. If he leaves, I’m going to just embrace that. I’m going to embrace being the point guard for the team. And that comes with practice. I don’t have my spot guaranteed; I know that. My goal is to get better every day at practice and get better game by game.

Henderson’s competitive drive and striving to be the best is something that O’Connor asked about, specifically if he would have a chip on his shoulder after being picked third instead of first.

If I was the no. 1 pick I’d still feel the edge. So just making sure everybody knows that that’s how I’m coming, and I’m coming up with a fiery edge for myself no matter where I went. I would’ve had the same edge if I went 1. My main focus is basketball and being the greatest version of myself. So, whether I was 1, 2, 50, I would still have that edge.

After one game playing with his new teammates, Henderson was also asked about fellow rookie Kris Murray.

He’s a silent assassin. He’ll wet it up from deep. He can get in there, he can get in the paint. He gets the play off. He’s the best if he can attack the basket. Kris is fun to play with. It’s easy to play with Kris. He spaced the floor a lot, but he can also pump-fake and get in the paint himself.

Henderson, an explosive athlete himself, also played his first game with Shaedon Sharpe where the pair almost connected on a highlight worthy alley-oop. Henderson was asked about that play specifically and his connection with Sharpe.

Scoot: When we get that down, it’s over with, man. Oh my god, when we get that down … because it was right there. It’s going to be showtime, man.

O’Connor: How would you describe Sharpe?

Scoot: Super skilled. He can do everything on the floor, man. I love playing with guys that just go out there and play to win, and that’s what he does. He can shoot it very well. He can attack the basket. As you can see, he dunked on Jay Huff, a very good shot blocker. So, that just tells you who he is as a player.

What sets Henderson apart is his drive and his love of the game. He was asked about that competitive spirit.

I really can’t help it. It’s something that’s just in me, something that I just can’t get bored of every time I step on the court. There’d be days where I’m like, “I don’t feel like going to the court.” I get on the court and I’m like, “Oh, it’s time to work.” It’s just something that clicks every time. I don’t know what it is. I’m just blessed to have that in me, because I know a lot of players don’t. And that’s what makes me different.