The Portland Trail Blazers recently completed one of their more difficult seasons in recent memory; finishing 21-61 and dealing with injury issues that stunted a significant amount of the internal growth that head coach Chauncey Billups and GM Joe Cronin were hoping for from their young team.

Of all the young players on the Blazers, no one drew more attention, and scrutiny, than rookie point guard Scoot Henderson.

Drafted third overall from the G League Ignite, and deemed the replacement for franchise icon Damian Lillard, Henderson joined the Blazers with a significant amount of hype. While he was certainly a known name, his game wasn't necessarily a known quantity by most Blazers fans who aren't hunting down G League games to scout players.

But by the time the season rolled around, and Lillard was with the Bucks, Blazers fans were eager to see what the kid could do.

But early in the season, Scoot couldn't do much. In his NBA debut against the idol Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Clippers, Henderson had 11 points and four turnovers while shooting 0-3 from the 3-point line. In his next game, Henderson had seven points on 3-12 shooting with five more turnovers. Following that were two more games with four and 11 points.

In his fifth game, Henderson was having his best shift as a pro in the second half against the Detroit Pistons when he rolled his ankle, causing him to miss the Blazers' next nine games. At that point, Scoot was shooting 9.5 percent from the 3-point line and averaging four turnovers per game.

Understandably, Billups elected to bring Henderson off the Blazers' bench when he returned from the injury in late November. that moved gave Scoot the chance to find his rhythm against reserves, and he started putting up better numbers. From this point until the NBA All Star break, Henderson averaged 13.4 points and 4.7 assists, while cutting his turnovers down to 2.8 per game. Most impressively in this span, he also shot a much more respectable 34 percent from the 3-point line.

At this point, Billups gave Henderson his starting job back, saying that he had earned it through his play and his effort.

Scoot Henderson's second half with the Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson (00) scores a basket during the first half against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) at Moda Center.
© Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

But then, appearing in the NBA Rising Stars game, Scoot aggravated a groin injury that had been nagging him. Henderson labored his way through a couple of workouts before the Blazers decided to sit him while he recovered. He ended up missing eight games due to the injury.

After recovering from the groin injury, Henderson reached another gear on the court. Over the rest of the season, Scoot averaged 16.6 points and 7.1 assists over his final 19 games of the season. He did still have his struggles, particularly with footwork while finishing in the paint and with turnovers (4.5 per game), but Blazers fans could see his confidence growing.

Over his final six games, Henderson averaged 20.5 points and 9.8 assists. This included games of 22 and 10, 19 and 15, 18 and 12, and a 30 point outburst that included 6-7 from the 3-point line in the Blazers' second-to-last game of the season.

While expectations were incredibly high, Henderson performed on par with other young point guards in their rookie years, including the likes of Westbrook and D'Aaron Fox. Taking the reigns of an offense at 19-years old is one of the more difficult things to do in basketball, and Henderson showed significant growth throughout the season.

Perhaps more impressively, Scoot never seemed to waver in his self-belief. In the locker room and in pre-game, Henderson always had a smile on his face. His teammates genuinely seem to like and respect him, and he had become noticeably more vocal on the court toward the end of the season.

With another rebuilding season on deck for next year, the Blazers have to be excited about what Henderson will look like with a year under his belt.