Breaking down Scoot Henderson’s game
Scoot Henderson put on an absolute show. His overall line of 28 points, on 11 of 21 shooting and two of three from distance, five rebounds, and nine assists was a star showing. But how he got there was even more impressive.
In the first half, Henderson was on a mission, and that mission was to get a bucket. He scored 18 points as the G-League Ignite opened up a massive lead. His drive and finish around Wembanyama showed how NBA-ready he is as a prospect.
The combination of handle, burst, and creativity is what high-level NBA offense is built around. In one sequence, he showed how he can use a screen to his advantage and how he doesn’t even need one in the first place.
Burst is a trait that shows up easily, but an equally important trait is the ability to stop under control. In this clip, Henderson shows off both traits and how he can weaponize it to score at will.
Henderson drives to the basket and draws a double team. He goes from 60 to 0 in a split second and fakes the shot, turning a double team into a wide open shot. He then calmly shoots a floated jumper as Wembanyama tries to use his length to recover. The play is incredible on so many levels. Henderson shows his ability to manipulate his speed to create looks, his otherworldly balance, and then the calm he has as a scorer.
The ability to create space is how offense is generated in the NBA. Some players use speed to blow by their opponent, others use incredible leaping or length to rise above, some use strength to bump opponents out of their floor space and a select few use the ability to stop to leave a defender running out of the picture. Henderson possesses all four traits.
As a bonus, Henderson also showed the ability to hit pull-up jumpers. His jump shot has long been a question mark, but he answered a lot of questions by hitting shots like this.
For a player with his ability to bend time and space, a solid jumper can lead to elite scoring numbers. Defenders will give him the space to take pull-up jumpers, and when they’re tired of getting roasted in the midrange, he’ll remind them why they gave themselves an extra yard in the first place.
While Henderson looked to score early and often, in the second half of the game, he went from a point gunner to a point general. Of his nine assists, eight came in the second half as he helped the Ignite hold off an incredible rally from Wembanyama and Metropolitan. He showed great promise as a pick-and-roll ball handler and should be ready to run an NBA offense from day one.
The combination of scoring and playmaking Henderson possesses is tantalizing. His defense and shooting consistency will need work at the next level, but that’s true for nearly every hyper-athletic guard. Why have a lethal jumper when you can get to the rim at will? And why care if your defensive fundamentals are on point when you can overwhelm the opposition with athleticism? Henderson has the physical traits to be at least a solid defender, and the early look at his jumper shows a player with real potential to keep defenses honest.
The 2023 draft has been hyped for a reason. Victor Wembanyama is a generational prospect, and Scoot Henderson is a true number one overall pick quality player. The pair lived up to the hype in their first showdown in Vegas, with the Ignite capturing the win. If you missed their first showdown, they’ll play again on October 6 at 3 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN 2.