Building a Dynamic Duo: Scoot Henderson Joins Damian Lillard in the Trail Blazers’ Backcourt

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Scoot Henderson Joins Damian Lillard in the Trail Blazers and shared this information

Questions arose about whether seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard would finally request a trade from the only franchise he has ever known the moment the Portland Trail Blazers selected top point guard prospect Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night’s 2023 NBA Draught—aand even before then.

“I’m told a timeline for where the future will land with Damian Lillard likely extends now between this point tonight and the start of free agency, and potentially into free agency,” Stadium’s Shams Charania wrote at the end of the first round, “just seeing exactly what Portland is capable of doing.” And, if Portland is unable to make a substantial move to strengthen the club, Lillard has made it clear, both behind the scenes and publicly, that he does not want to return to a rebuilding situation with young guys.”

Scoot Henderson Joins Damian Lillard in the Trail Blazers

Similarly, Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report wrote that “Lillard has not had any recent communication with the Blazers involving the draught, free agency, or his future.” He has, however, communicated with Henderson.

“Our relationship will grow, especially now that I’m going there,” Henderson said on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “I believe our games complement each other quite well.” I get in the paint and spray it out, and I can also play defense, and the things he does are obviously spectacular. I believe we will succeed.

Damian Lilllard

“I believe he should stay. I think it would be fantastic to play alongside Dame and learn so much from him, especially how he came into the game so confident and courageous.” I’m going to take the same approach.”

According to Latest Sports News’ Jake Fischer, the Blazers did not intend to trade the No. 3 pick unless it netted “one of a select number of premium targets.” Portland has been linked to Zion Williamson, Paul George, Mikal Bridges, and Bam Adebayo, among others, according to various reports, but none of those rumours have proven true.

Scoot Henderson

Even if you consider any of the aforementioned candidates, the well of possibly available stars who could raise a Lillard-led Portland club to contention quickly runs dry. Jaylen Brown is not carrying the Blazers to victory. They have Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Henderson, and numerous future first-round picks to offer in pursuit of multiple win-now upgrades, but it would make just as much sense, if not more, to build around them as the cornerstone of a future contender.

Even if you take into account any of the aforementioned prospects, the pool of potentially available talents who could propel a Lillard-led Portland team into contention rapidly runs dry. Jaylen Brown isn’t going to lead the Blazers to victory. They have Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Henderson, and a slew of potential first-round picks to trade in pursuit of several win-now upgrades, but it makes just as much, if not more, sense to build around them as the foundation of a future contender.

“That’s not what I’m interested in,” Lillard told reporters in Los Angeles following his team’s sixth consecutive loss in March. “The frustrating part is talking about ‘Oh, you know, what’s going to happen next season?’ and us building.” That’s not why I’m here, especially at this point in my career. So, as encouraging as it is to promote the kind of basketball that you’re likely to win with in the future — and that’s what we’ve got to learn to do — right now I’m not out there looking like, OK, we’re making these plays. This is what we must begin doing.It’s difficult for me to detach myself from the present in that way and then go on about being enthused about what we’re doing and what we can do in the future.”

Both Haynes and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst have recently reported that Lillard’s opinion on the youth movement remains unaltered, despite the fact that he has openly declared that he expects to start next season with the Blazers.

Trail Blazers

Lillard will turn 33 next month. A year after suffering the most serious injury of his 11-year career in Portland, an abdominal tear that cost him 53 games, he had a career year this past season, averaging 32.2 points (on 46/37/91 shooting splits), 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in 36.2 minutes per night for a 33-win team, earning him a seventh All-NBA selection. How long he can maintain that level is a legitimate concern, and one that would necessitate the young Blazers hastening their climb if they were to compete.

Scoot Hinderson

Even so, the roster is skewed. Lillard, Henderson, and Simons are all 6-foot-3 or shorter, and Lillard’s previous combo with the 6-3 C.J. McCollum resulted in a solitary appearance in the Western Conference finals. This is not a team that is one step or one leap away from a championship. Even if they re-sign free-agent wing Jerami Grant to a contract that brings them closer to the luxury tax, they are a long way from Lillard’s aim.

So here we are, with the Blazers refusing to move their best young players or Lillard, and Lillard refusing to pair up with young players or request a trade. Something has to give, and the NBA front offices are waiting for it to happen because everyone knows Portland needs to make a decision.

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