2023 NBA Draft scouting report: Scoot Henderson

NBA Draft, NBA Draft Scouting Reports

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Arguably the most complete guard in recent NBA Draft history, Scoot Henderson is much more than the projected consolation prize in the Winless for Wemby sweepstakes. 

Scoot Henderson is almost universally pegged as the second overall pick in 2023 mock drafts. Were it not for the glaring generational talent of Victor Wembanyama, he would be a perfectly strong No. 1 pick candidate. We’re talking about one of the most talented top-end drafts in recent history.

We haven’t seen Henderson since Nov. 18 after he suffered a nasal fracture and concussion, with some NBA scouts speculating that Henderson might never suit up again for the G-League Ignite. Obviously, there are long-term goals at play here: Henderson, now in his second season with the Ignite, has very little to gain from rushing back into action.

Regardless of whether he ultimately returns or not, Henderson will be highly touted in the months leading up to the NBA Draft. He has already cemented his place near the top of every board. He checks so many boxes at the point guard spot: quick-twitch athleticism, a sense of pace, excellent court awareness, and the ability to score from anywhere on the court. Expect to hear a lot about Henderson between now and next summer, even if we don’t actually get to see him play.

Scoot Henderson NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 195 pounds
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 2004
Position: Point Guard
Offensive Role: Lead initiator, go-to scorer
Defensive Role: Point guard stopper
Projected Draft RangeTop 3

NBA Draft highlights

Strengths

Any concerns about Scoot Henderson’s unimpressive height (6-foot-2) are negated by his explosive, quick-twitch athleticism and rangy 6-foot-9 wingspan. He can elevate with power and finesse around the rim, often eluding shot blockers with gorgeous finishes right under their noses.

Henderson can beat a defense in every which way. There aren’t too many glaring weaknesses at play here: the pull-up jumper is clean and precise, he’s comfortable operating out of pick-and-rolls, he makes impressive passing reads on the move, and he’s a gifted slasher when he puts his head down and drives the lane. He can change speeds on a dime, his first step is up there with the best NBA guards, and he displays immense craftiness off the dribble.

The NBA’s best offenses are built around playmakers of Henderson’s ilk. He can seek out mismatches and torture ill-matched defenders one-on-one. He’s a premier drive-and-dish threat, with the downhill speed to collapse the defense and the shot-making talent to negate even the most potent on-ball stoppers. He isn’t often praised for his defense, but Henderson oozes potential on that end too due to his length, effort, and athleticism.

Weaknesses

Again, not many! Henderson is only 18 years old, so naturally, he struggles with decision-making from time to time. Almost every point guard prospect undergoes a period of adjustment at the next level. The speed of the game might challenge Henderson early on as he learns to process defenses quicker and strike the right balance between scoring and facilitating. But, in time, I have every bit of confidence that Henderson will figure it out.

Henderson’s shot selection hasn’t always been the most favorable, but such is life with such a confident player. He operates with a winning attitude, and with more polish (and perhaps the guiding light of higher-level NBA teammates and coaches) Henderson should settle into a more controlled style of play. He has the ability and self-belief to make every shot and pass in the book; now, he has to learn how to pick his spots better.

Defense is clearly a work in progress for Henderson, who like most 18-year-olds has a tendency to find himself out of position. The athleticism and determination are there, but Henderson will have to get better at weaponizing his unique physical gifts and translating them into consistent defense, rather than the occasional eye-popping highlight.

Final summary

Henderson will have to fend off the Thompson twins, Nick Smith Jr., and others in the race for No. 2 on draft night. But, he is the heavy favorite right now and for good reason. NBA teams already have more than enough tape to believe strongly in Henderson’s future. He possesses the intangibles, the measurements, and the on-court reputation to win scouts of any franchise over.

He has clear All-Star and even All-NBA potential, with the skill set necessary to one day rank near the top of the NBA in both points and assists. Henderson is the type of player who will have the ball in his hands frequently from day one, no matter who drafts him. He is a legitimate primary engine and the kind of player you can build a winner around.

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