The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t in a great spot with franchise point guard Damian Lillard requesting a trade, but they would be in a far worse position if they didn’t draft Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 pick in last month’s draft.
It’s very possible that Lillard has played his last game with the Blazers, and if that’s the case, Henderson can jump right in and take over.
“Whenever the Damian Lillard saga comes to an end, Henderson will slide into the vacated spot as the face of this franchise,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley writes. “That’s a lot to put on a 19-year-old, but he might be up to the challenge. He is an athletic, energetic floor general who leads his team at both ends. If his jumper comes around, his potential is limitless.”
It’s a fair assessment that Henderson is the best draft pick the Blazers have made since taking Lillard with the No. 6 pick back in 2012. It’s the highest Portland has picked since taking Lillard and no player that has entered the organization has had as much upside as Henderson does coming into the league.
He has the potential to be the best player on a contender someday, and he has an advanced mindset for a 19-year-old. His two years with the G League Ignite has helped him prepare for what he’s about to encounter in the NBA.
“If he leaves, I’m going to just embrace that,” Henderson said via The Athletic’s Kevin O’Connor. “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.”
That’s the exact mindset you want from a franchise point guard, and if and when Lillard leaves, he’ll be ready to carry the torch for the Blazers.