The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery is official, and we now know the order of the first 14 selections. The San Antonio Spurs won the lottery and will take French sensation Victor Webanyama at No. 1 overall. After that, the draft order is wide open. For example, G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson was a lock at No. 2 until the Charlotte Hornets grabbed that spot. Now the PG will fall to three and possibly even further.
Before we discuss exactly how far Henderson could fall, let’s say upfront, it won’t be all that far. In many NBA draft years — without a 7-foot-5 French Kevin Durant on the board — Henderson would be the consensus No. 1 pick.
However, this year there is Wembanyama, so Henderson gets pushed down the draft. That’s despite the fact that the 6-foot-2 point guard gets comps like Russell Westbrook, (a pre-injury) Derrick Rose, and even Allen Iverson.
Henderson does everything well, from shooting to passing to ball-handling. He is also a tenacious defender who is built more like an NFL player than an NBA one.
The only real downside is Henderson’s height, which might give him some problems defending bigger PGs or switching on bigs. But other than that, Scoot can scoot all over the court and get his shot up at will, despite his smaller stature.
Whoever gets Henderson is going to get a franchise-changing guard who will immediately become the team’s on-floor and emotional leader. Here are the three best NBA Draft destinations for Scoot Henderson after the NBA draft Lottery.
3. Pick No. 3: Portland Trail Blazers
The most likely fit for Scoot Henderson is with the Trail Blazers. When the Charlotte Hornets moved to No. 2 in the NBA Draft Lottery, Henderson fell down the draft board. Michael Jordan’s team already has a young point guard in LaMelo Ball, so Henderson would be redundant.
Portland also has a superstar guard, but Damian Lillard can play off the ball in ways Ball can’t, and he’ll be 33 in July. The Blazers also have Shaedon Sharpe at off-guard, who had an excellent rookie season in 2022-23.
Drafting the G League Ignite prospect could mean the team is finally ready to move on from Lillard after failing to build a championship team around him. But if they do, it still means the team is building around a two-guard lineup, which didn’t work with Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Either way, the best type of building block prospect for the Blazers would be a wing or a big, but at No. 3, Henderson is probably too good to pass up. And while the young guard could make it work, this isn’t the best fit by any means.
2. Pick No. 4: Houston Rockets
This would be a big fall for Scoot Henderson, as the G League Ignite star was supposed to be a lock for the No. 2 pick. However, if he did fall to No. 4 — with Brandon Miller going No. 2 and maybe Amen Thompson going No. 3 — the Rockets would be a much better fit than the Blazers.
The Rockets are a fascinating collection of young talent, but there is no cohesion among the group. New head coach Ime Udoka will help that, but a talented point guard will help that even more.
Last season, seemingly whichever Rockets player got the ball first as it came over half-court would shoot, with no rhyme or reason or thought of involving a teammate. That will change with the ball in Henderson’s hand.
Henderson is a scoring point guard, but he’s also an excellent playmaker. Talented youngsters like Jalen Green, Jabari Smoith Jr., and Alperen Sengun should flourish with a leader like Scoot on the court.
1. Pick No. 3: Orlando Magic (via trade with Blazers)
The absolute best fit for Scoot Henderson is at the No. 3 pick with a team that doesn’t own the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Currently, the Magic have picks Nos. 6 and 11. That should be more than enough to go up to three and grab the Trail Blazers' spot. The Blazers can slide back and take two bigger players (Taylor Hendricks and Gradey Dick?), and the Magic can move up for the G League Ignite floor general.
With Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero already poised to take the Magic to heights unseen since at least the Dwight Howard days, a dynamic PG would be the final piece of the puzzle. Henderson would create a dangerous trio if Central Florida and the guard could help take Wagner and Banchero’s game to the next level.
The Magic would be the best overall fit for Scoot Henderson, but the franchise would have to take a major gamble to trade up and make that happen.