Much of the debate leading into the 2023 NBA Draft regarded who would go No. 2 between athletic point guard Scoot Henderson and rangy forward Brandon Miller. The No. 1 overall pick was already a foregone conclusion, with the San Antonio Spurs slated to select generational, 7-foot-4 French center Victor Wembanyama.
Now, before NBA Summer League has even concluded, there’s already speculation about if the Charlotte Hornets — and Spurs — may regret passing on Henderson and letting him fall to the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, some rival team officials wonder if San Antonio may think twice about its decision as the years unfold.
Speaking of Portland, Scoot Henderson played just 21 minutes in the Blazers’ Summer League opener, but opinions of him among the NBA decision-makers that I talked with are sky high. In talking to execs about Henderson/Brandon Miller—two players whose careers will be forever intertwined—a couple of team officials wondered whether San Antonio would regret passing on Henderson down the line. High praise considering who the Spurs walked away with.
Wow. While not an assertion, even just the notion San Antonio may regret passing on Scoot in hindsight is remarkable praise for the 6-foot-2 point guard, especially considering his brief stint at Summer League.
In Henderson’s only game of the summer season, before he exited in the third quarter with a shoulder strain, he put up 15 points, six assists and five steals on 5-13 shooting in 21 minutes. He dazzled most in the opening quarter, scoring 13 of his 15 points. Henderson possessed a magnetism on the court to impact the flow of the game and make plays, whether it was through scoring, distributing, or swiping at steals.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons also shares an affinity for Henderson, professing it was a certainty he would eventually be an NBA star in a profanity-laced portion of a recent podcast. While Simmons didn’t go quite as far as to say the Spurs would regret drafting Wemby over Henderson, he said the Hornets would look back in envy.
“The Charlotte thing is going to live in infamy. I don’t think Brandon Miller is going to be a bust, but this is going to haunt them. I’m saying it now. I’m not even predicting it. This is going to be a disaster for Charlotte. ... Scoot’s gonna be a guy. He just is, and we knew this, and they didn’t take him.”
The hype train is chugging full steam ahead, folks. Simmons’ colleague at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor, said it’s gone too far. In response to Mannix’s report, O’Connor said the Spurs would regret nothing, before saying Henderson has a lot of development left for his game.
The Scoot Henderson hype is out of control. It's too much. Scoot could very well become a star but he has a long way to go in so many categories. Especially as a shooter, which is a critical skill for a lead guard. pic.twitter.com/jhwqpD8yxY— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 16, 2023
To Wembanyama’s credit, he was no slouch during Summer League. His opening performance was a tad shaky considering the galactic hype heading into the event, but he put up 27 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks on 9-14 shooting in his second and final outing. The sky-high potential and tools were noticeable, especially on the defensive end as Wembanyama blocked eight shots through two games.
On the Miller front, the No. 2 pick averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists through three Las Vegas Summer League games, while shooting 35.4% from the field and 26.1% on 3-pointers. The 6-foot-9 forward mixed rookie stumbles with some impressive moments.
Wembanyama, Henderson, and Miller will be linked together throughout their NBA careers, never escaping comparison. Only time will tell who becomes the best player of the highly-touted bunch.