2023 NBA Draft Profile: Scoot Henderson brings unique athleticism as PG
Scoot Henderson brings unique athleticism as PG originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Washington Wizards have the eighth-best odds in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery. Here is the latest in our series of draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2023 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: Scoot Henderson
Team: G League Ignite
Position: Point guard
2022/23 stats: 19 G, 16.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 spg, 0.5 bpg, 42.9 FG% (6.1/14.1), 27.5 3PT% (0.7/2.7), 76.4 FT% (2.2/2.9)
Player comparison: Baron Davis, Jaden Ivey
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 2nd, Ringer 2nd, Athletic 2nd, ESPN 3rd, NBADraft.net 3rd, Bleacher Report 2nd
5 things to know:
-Henderson has long been projected to be the second-best prospect in this draft behind top overall pick Victor Wembanyama. Henderson, though, is a much different player as a point guard with rare athletic traits. He is very explosive with a quick first step and the ability to fly above the rim in a hurry. What makes him an especially intriguing prospect is his advanced skillset off-the-dribble. Henderson has a wide variety of sharp, effective moves that allow him to get where he wants to go either in the halfcourt or in transition. He also possesses quick hands on the defensive end with impressive timing when it comes to stripping ball-handlers and attacking passing lanes.
-His physical strength really stands out for his age and position. Henderson has a strong build that shouldn't need filling out to match the physical demands of the NBA. An NBA scout and former player told me he worked out Henderson when he was 16 and came away amazed at his ability to withstand contact. You can also see it in his creativity around the rim. Henderson can finish at a variety of angles, through traffic and even when it appears he's lost his balance.
-Most mock drafts have Henderson as either the second or third overall pick with Alabama swingman Brandon Miller as his biggest threat to go No. 2 overall. Miller moved up draft boards throughout the season due to his 3-point shooting. Whether Henderson goes second could depend on how the lottery shakes out and whether the team with the No. 2 pick needs a point guard.
-Some areas Henderson will need to improve in are his outside shooting and ball protection. He shot below 30% from three last season in the G League and was barely above 40% from the field. Whether he can develop an outside shot will go a long way towards determining his true ceiling as a point guard. His turnovers are also an issue, as he averaged 3.5 per game last season for Ignite. Different leagues, but for comparison his turnover percentage in the G League last year (18.7) was higher than Russell Westbrook's was in the NBA (18.4).
-Not unlike Wembanyama, Henderson has long been a basketball prodigy. He became a superstar as a high school player in Georgia, so good he reclassified to go pro early. He became the youngest player in G League history at the time, at just 17 years old. Playing in the G League for two years should give NBA talent evaluators a good read on his athleticism and whether it will translate to the next level. While the G League lags behind the NBA in overall skill, the speed, length and spacing are a big step above the college ranks. That Henderson often blew past defenders is a good sign.
Scoot Henderson stepback 3 over Victor Wembanyama ðð¯ pic.twitter.com/CmeGk8qoZa
— BasketballNews.com (@basketbllnews) October 5, 2022
Fit with Wizards:
Henderson would fit the Wizards quite well from a positional perspective, as he's a point guard and they don't have one signed long-term. Monte Morris had a solid season in his first year with the team, but is a free agent next summer. That timeline could work well for the Wizards to bring in a rookie point guard, as they wouldn't necessarily have to start right away. In Henderson's case, however, it's very possible he would start immediately given his talent and how high he is expected to go in the draft.
Henderson would arguably be the Wizards' most athletic player the moment he steps into their facility. His speed would provide a jolt to a team that doesn't play particularly fast and last season ranked 26th in fastbreak points. Henderson's ability to get to the rim in the halfcourt would be especially valuable for the Wizards, as they seek to create more opportunities off the dribble with drives into the paint.
This Scoot Henderson dunk for the @gleagueignite... ð¤¯pic.twitter.com/P43IAAuA7f
— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2023
Washington could be a good landing spot for Henderson considering the help he would have around him. Henderson wouldn't be asked to carry a heavy scoring load with Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis on the floor. Ideally, the Wizards would add more shooters to give Henderson space to operate with the ball in his hands and also to offset his current lack of a consistent outside shot.
In order to get Henderson, the Wizards would need to move up in the lottery, likely into the top-three at a minimum and possibly into the top-two. They have a 7.0% chance of picking second and 7.4% odds of picking third. Their odds of picking top-three are 21.1%. If they did move up and the stars aligned, Henderson would help them address needs both in the short- and long-term.