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1 Tough Question Every NBA Franchise Must Answer Next Season

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Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
The Portland Trail Blazers’ rebuild feels a bit rudderless. It took longer than expected for them to move Malcolm Brogdon. Jerami Grant and his contract make almost no sense on this team. Deandre Ayton had a strong close to the 2023-24 campaign, but he probably isn’t a franchise cornerstone, either.
Transforming back into a winning team will likely require at least one star. Scoot Henderson may be the Blazers’ best bet.
The No. 3 overall pick in 2023 was a highly touted prospect and one of the biggest names on the now defunct G League Ignite, but he had a nightmarishly difficult rookie campaign.
Among the 955 three-point-era rookies who played at least 1,000 minutes, Henderson ranks 939th in box plus/minus. His two-point percentage and three-point percentage were both way below the league average for 2023-24. And he had the second-highest turnover percentage in the NBA.
But he started to look like an NBA player down the stretch of last season. All the typical caveats about March and April production apply—lots of opponents are banged up are intentionally taking their feet off the gas—but Henderson’s feel as a playmaker improved, and he was doing better at breaking the first line of defense.
Over his last 13 appearances, he averaged 19.2 points, 8.1 assists, 2.4 threes and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 39.7 percent from deep.

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