‘Going to be a star’: Chauncey Billups drops major Scoot Henderson endorsement ahead of rookie year with Blazers

As the Portland Trail Blazers continue to scramble through all trade scenarios involving Damian Lillard ahead of the start of the 2023-24 season, a new era is upon them. This organization is at a crossroads and with Lillard already having one foot out the door, it is Scoot Henderson’s time to lead the franchise.

Drafted third overall by the Blazers in this year’s draft, Henderson is exactly what Portland needs to replace Lillard. He’s very athletic, he has a high basketball IQ and Scoot just has a certain level of swag to him that will resonate with everyone around him. Even though he is just 19 years old and has yet to make his NBA debut, Henderson is already in line to become the next big thing for the Blazers.

Expectations for top picks in the NBA Draft are always high, and this is the case with the Trail Blazers’ rookie. There will obviously be a learning curve, but the team is very high on his abilities. Head coach Chauncey Billups recently discussed Henderson’s potential with Steve Aschburner from NBA.com, claiming that the rookie is going to make headlines right away.

“Scoot is going to be a star in this league,” Billups boldly claimed. “He plays both sides of the floor with ferocity. He is very, very driven. He’s a playmaker, he’s a real point guard. Got some leadership about him. He looks like he’s the starting safety of the Denver Broncos. He’s going to be an exciting player for the whole world to watch but our fan base, they can rest assured they’ll be entertained.”

In any other draft where Victor Wembanyama was not around, Henderson would have had a really solid argument to be the first overall pic. That is how talented he is.

The Blazers were elated to be able to grab him third overall. If Lillard is to be traded, they will immediately have a young, potential star to begin building with.

Henderson showcased his abilities this past year in the NBA G League with the G League Ignite and he’s  an overall offensive weapon. From getting to the rim to running in transition to finding his open teammates and dragging defenders in from the perimeter, Scoot can do just about everything to break down his opponents.

It’s clear to see why the Blazers are so high on him and Billups’ seems to already have a plan in mind for how they are going to utilize the rookie during the 2023-24 season.

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Damian Lillard keeps it real on Blazers’ decision to draft Scoot Henderson

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is all fine with his team’s decision to use their high first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft to select Scoot Henderson. While many believe that such a move by the Blazers could be taken in a negative light by Lillard, that just isn’t the case according to the star himself.

“No. Me and Scoot, we’ve had a few conversations with him coming into the league. That wasn’t a deal breaker for me at all,” Lillard said when asked if he had issues with the Blazers taking Henderson during a recent appearance on the It Is What It Is podcast.

“I respect his game. I think in that position he was the best player available, so that’s what you’ve gotta do if you’ve got the pick.  I wasn’t offended at all because, at the end of the day, you’ve gotta come in and play. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so to me, that wasn’t a knock on me or anything.”

Damian Lillard made that comment amid an ongoing offseason saga centered around his trade demand. It’s been known that Lillard wants to be sent to the Miami Heat, but such a transaction that will get him to South Beach has yet to come to fruition.

The Blazers took Henderson No. 3 overall in the 2023 NBA Draft after the San Antonio Spurs, as expected, picked Victor Wembanyama No. 1 and the Charlotte Hornets selected Brandon Miller at No. 2.

If Lillard remains a Blazer by the start of the 2023-24 NBA season, it will be so interesting to see how he and Henderson will play alongside each other.

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