Why Scoot Henderson Would Be an Exciting Consolation Prize for the Spurs

Scoot Henderson has been able to separate himself as an elite prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft despite the towering presence of Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-5 Frenchman who is destined to be the draft’s top selection. If the San Antonio Spurs end up drafting Henderson, they’d have to be ecstatic about that outcome.

While there is some talk behind the scenes that the Spurs may prefer Amen Thompson, I believe that it’s very likely that Henderson would be the choice if the Spurs end up with the No. 2 pick in the draft. If San Antonio ends up with the third pick, they’ll be rooting for Brandon Miller to go No. 2 so that they can select Henderson at No. 3.

The NBA draft lottery will take place on May 16th. That’s when the Spurs will learn the position of their first round pick. San Antonio is guaranteed to have a top seven pick and they have a 14% chance to get the No. 1 pick and a 40.1% chance to get a top three pick.

Leading up to the lottery, we’ll take a closer look at all the top prospects — beginning with Henderson. 

Scoot Henderson’s Strengths

At 19, Scoot Henderson of the G League Ignite is a very advanced prospect. The 6-foot-2 point guard is powerfully built and is blessed with an impressive combination of end-to-end spend, side-to-side quickness and straight ahead brute strength. Henderson has a 6-foot-9 wingspan and big, strong hands — attributes that allow him to play larger than a typical 6-foot-2 prospect. Unlike the vast majority of teens, he’ll be ready for the physicality in the NBA on Day 1.

Skill-wise, Henderson lacks very little. He’s a talented ball-handler with dozens of moves in his bag. He projects to be a very good finisher at the rim due to his overwhelming physical tools and his creativity in the air. He also has more than enough court vision and is naturally a good passer. Henderson can make passes in tight quarters in the paint or hit three-point shooters in drive-and-kick scenarios. 

Defensively, as long as he’s mentally locked in, he should be able to hold up well. He has shown flashes of being a high level help defender while also being a capable defender at the point of attack.

Henderson plays a confident brand of basketball and never backs down. He appears to have the determination and drive to be a great player. 

Areas of Concern for Scoot Henderson

In today’s positionless NBA, selecting a 6-foot-2 player near the top of the draft comes with inherent risks. If Henderson doesn’t blossom into a star offensive player, it won’t look like a strong draft pick in retrospect. At 6-foot-2, there’s a limit to how much he can impact the game defensively. 

There are two issues with Henderson’s offensive game. First of all, his shooting is very much a work in progress. He hit less than a third of his three-point attempts with the Ignite this season. His mechanics look good from midrange but he’s not as smooth when shooting from distance. 

The second offensive issue is his inconsistent decision-making. As it stands, he’s far too reliant on midrange jumpers. To reach his potential, Henderson is going to have to attack the basket more often and become a higher volume three-point shooter. Additionally, like most scoring point guard prospects, he’s still learning how to balance looking to put points on the board and setting up his teammates.

A Scout’s View: Scoot Henderson’s Fit on the Spurs

“I love the idea of Scoot on the Spurs,” a scout for a Western Conference team told me. “[Head coach Gregg Popovich] will love him. He’s tough-minded and backs down from no one. He’s unselfish, can see the floor and competes, competes, competes.”

“[The Spurs] can slide Scoot right into what they’re building,” the scout continued. ” He fits the roster and gives them the potential superstar talent they need to reach the next level.”

Final Thoughts on the Spurs Potentially Drafting Scoot Henderson

Obviously, landing Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Draft is the dream for the Spurs and their fans. But as far as consolation prizes are concerned, Henderson would be a fantastic get. He has the tools to potentially become a foundational piece that gives San Antonio’s rebuild a sense of direction. 

While I don’t think the Spurs should focus too much on fit, it’s undeniably helpful that Henderson is a clean fit with the rest of the current roster. He’d step in as the team’s starting point guard from the first day of training camp alongside Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan and Zach Collins.

Come May 16th, if the Spurs learn that they’ll be drafting at No. 2, I think they’ll survey the landscape — and even consider trades — but ultimately decide to draft Henderson.