2023 NBA Draft Scouting Series: Scoot Henderson Report

(Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

2023 NBA Draft Scouting Series: Scoot Henderson Report


2023 NBA Draft Scouting Series: Scoot Henderson Report


Playmaking: A+ 

The main area of Henderson’s game that’s leveled up more than many expected is his playmaking. His passing ability makes his pick-and-roll game lethal as defenses can’t stop his multifaceted attack. Henderson is a great passer and he’s able to leverage his scoring game to boost his playmaking. 

On this transition run ahead, Henderson matches fantastic manipulation with a tremendous pass. His eyes are up and looking at the positioning of more than one defender. Henderson has a roller to the basket and a man free at the top of the key for a three. Henderson looks off one defender with his eyes and baits him out to the shooter. This clears a path for the roller to receive a cleaner pass. Henderson slides in a nifty no-look bounce pass that threads the needle of two defenders and leads his big man in perfect stride to the basket. 

Henderson makes high level passes off a live dribble like this one look routine. In the clip, Henderson breaks past his man off the dribble and naturally forces help to step up in the paint. Before any defender knows what’s going on, Henderson has already rifled a bullet pass in perfect stride to lead his teammate from the dunker spot to the rim for a dunk. Plays like this show Henderson’s superb feel for the game. He has the floor vision to spot the defensive rotations. Henderson’s decision point to pass comes within his first couple steps. The ball is out and past the helping defender before his feet are even planted. Henderson also makes the pass well before number 13 can even think about sinking down to cover the dunker spot. 

One trait of many experienced ball handlers in the NBA is the ability to manipulate matchups on the floor and expose weak points in defenses. That’s exactly what Henderson does here as he first weaves past a teammate on a fake DHO. Henderson’s slower pace forces a switch onto a weaker defender. Furthermore, Henderson invites the slow footed big defender into the P&R dance. Once the screener’s defender slightly detaches from the roll, Henderson feathers in a slick left handed bounce pass and his big finishes with the thunder. 

Adding onto Henderson’s abundance of high value passes, he’s able to make the classic corner skip pass when defenses aggressively tag the roll man from the weak side. In both plays, Henderson reads the positioning of the low man and fires a crosscourt pass on time and on target for an efficient corner three. While this isn’t the most complex read to make on the basketball court, playmakers who master this pass quickly will see the gateway to open up all kinds of playmaking opportunities on the floor. 

Despite making the right read in plenty of situations, Henderson still has room to grow when seeing the floor and reading the defense. On the same type of play as above, Henderson’s corner skip pass is telegraphed and results in a turnover. There were two more high value passes to make on the floor than the one Henderson made. First, hit the roll man since his defender’s feet are facing Henderson. The other would be to spray the ball out to the lifting shooter at the top of the key for a clean shot from downtown. 

Three Point Shooting: B- 

Months ago, the NBA Draft community would’ve been correct in assessing that Scoot’s biggest weakness was his three point shot. However, Henderson has made apparent strides as a long range shooter for Team Ignite this season. Henderson was shooting over 45% from three through his first six games before injury. Since recovering from his nasal fracture, Henderson’s percentage has dipped down to 38%. Of course, Henderson shoots it from three at a low volume as evident by the 13-34 figure in 13 games. However, last season Henderson shot an abysmal 17% from three so the progress is notable. 

Henderson is best when shooting pull-ups in the mid range but this range has extended out to beyond the arc at times. He’s a talented pull-up shooter who’s getting better and better and given his age, there’s reason to believe in his long distance shot moving forward. In his entire G-League career, Henderson is a 77% free throw shooter on strong volume. If Henderson can continue to develop a reliable jumper off the catch then he will be just fine in this area. 

Defense: C+ 

Scoot Henderson’s defensive value is tough to nail down. There are times where he flashes big time plays from a nifty steal off the ball to a blistering block on his man. Henderson’s high level athletic tools allow him to make highlight worthy defensive plays but the consistency on film still leaves plenty to be desired.

On the positive end, Henderson shows great flashes of jumping a passing lane and getting a steal to lead a fast break or an electric dunk of his own. He has a solid feel off the ball in certain situations where he can use his instincts to disrupt a pass. Additionally, when Scoot gets locked in on the ball he can hold his own at the point of attack. His physical tools and smarts will help him for years to come on the defensive end. 

However, Henderson still has a fair share of negatives too harp on defensively. Henderson has lapses of effort when defending one on one. Too often he will let his guy drive right by him and lazily try to recover when it’s too late. Henderson’s screen navigation needs some work as he gets blocked out of plays too easily. General discipline for when to commit to jumping a passing lane also needs refinement. Like with his three point shot, Henderson has grown on defense and there’s multiple pathways to him becoming a positive defender in the NBA. 

Bottom Line:

Scoot Henderson is the real deal and a can’t miss prospect. He has the complete package of athleticism and skills to develop into a franchise changing point guard and one of the best lead guards in basketball soon enough.

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