NBA Hoops

Chauncey Billups praises future of Scoot Henderson

Chauncey Billups praises future of Scoot Henderson

ORLANDO, Fla. — Scoot Henderson has had a challenging rookie campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers, but the organization believes the 20-year-old has a bright future and is standing behind him.

Henderson is averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds on 38% shooting from the field in 56 games. He is fourth in the rookie class in scoring and is one of seven first-year players with multiple 30-point games (2).

On paper, Henderson looks to be having a productive year.

However, Henderson has dealt with injuries throughout the year (ankle, foot, adductor) and has struggled with his efficiency and defense. He has the third-worst true-shooting percentage (48.1) among rookies who have appeared in at least 25 games. He also recently recorded the worst plus-minus in history after he was minus-58 in a 142-82 loss to the Miami Heat on March 29.

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups doesn’t seem all that concerned with the inconsistent play of Henderson this season, given the circumstances surrounding him.

He is up and down like any rookie, especially a rookie that is a point guard, which is, to me, the toughest position in our game to play. Sometimes, it looks like he has played 3-4 years in the league and, sometimes, he looks his age. He had a rough night a couple of nights ago, so if I’m talking about that game, I’m saying he hasn’t grown that much. But if I’m looking at him after practice yesterday, I’m saying he looks like a five-year vet. That’s just kinda how it has been for him and it is all great learning moments and teachable experiences. I would just say this: I’m very confident that Scoot is going to be a star in this league.

Henderson offered a glimpse of his overall ability to affect games on Monday in a one-point loss to the Orlando Magic. He neared a triple-double with 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in nearly 35 minutes in his 26th start of the season.

Last season with the G League Ignite, the third pick was highly touted as a floor general who can get his teammates involved and penetrate into the paint. He had those traits on display against the Magic and nearly had the game-winning assist after getting the ball to Deandre Ayton for an open shot as time expired.

His ability to affect games has resonated with his teammates.

“He gets everyone involved and gets guys to their spots and a lot of stuff that’s not on the stat sheet that he does for us, and we know and appreciate,” Dalano Banton said. “I…

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