Be naivete or something else, Blazers' Scoot Henderson guarantees Rookie of the Year

Not sure how one overlooks a guy who’s 7-foot-5, but do you, I guess

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A young Black man with curly hair, wearing a red long-sleeved Portland Trailblazers shirt, holds a basketball between both hands and stares into the camera.
Will this man be ROTY?
Image: Getty Images

Scoot Henderson set the bar for his first NBA season, and career, in a recent interview, telling Playmaker HQ that he will win rookie of the year, and hopes to be the “best point guard to ever play in the game.” So with that said, there’s not much else to talk about, right? I think hoops fans collectively agree Henderson’s goals are lofty, presumptuous, and a pipedream predicated on an injury to Victor Wembanyama, and Scoot’s yet-to-be-developed jumper.

Now, will the protestations of naysayers, a woefully uncompetitive roster, and things like teammates and coaching deter Henderson from believing in himself? It certainly doesn’t sound like it.


Scoot Henderson believes in Scoot Henderson

“My goal, obviously, is to win Rookie of the Year, and I will win Rookie of the Year. …”


“That’s just a mindset, a manifestation that I kind of grew,” Henderson said. “Never doubted myself, you know, making sure I’m always putting good energy in the air, making sure I’m telling myself ‘I’m gonna have a great rookie season.’ I’m not saying I want to have a great rookie season, I’m gonna have a great rookie season. I’m gonna have a great career. I will have a great career and making sure that’s always in just past tense because it happened.”

Hard work and a can-do attitude go far in life, but the NBA isn’t accounting, computer science, or some other industry where, if you’re brainwashed by optimism, you’re always succeeding. There’s very real and quantifiable data to track one’s personal progress in pro sports, and no amount of Stuart Smiley self-worth tactics is going to counteract the objective truth.

Can Scoot win rookie of the year?

Is there a universe where Henderson takes the league by storm, and is essentially Derrick Rose without the knee problems? Sure, but it’s far more likely that he’s a rich man’s Dennis Smith Jr.*, and spends his inaugural season campaigning for hardware behind a steady stream of self-promotion and shot attempts — like a lot of attempts.


(*I’ve already filed a patent for “Dennis Smith Sr.” as a moniker for Henderson if his career goes the way of DSJ.)

In the 21 minutes of action that Henderson saw for the Portland Trail Blazers during his injury-shortened summer league appearance, he hoisted 13 shots. I don’t think DraftKings does prop bets for shot attempt average, but I just want to know where an oddsmaker would set that number.


Jalen Green, the Houston Rockets third-year guard who’s been given a green light so green that even AAU coaches think it’s irresponsible, attempted 17.9 shots per game in his sophomore season. If you were to set an over/under of 17.5 attempts for Henderson, I’d take the overs, and, yes, that’s accounting for the borderline all-star the Blazers gets in return for Damian Lillard.

Jerami Grant, Shaedon Sharpe, and Tyler Herro aren’t enough of an impetus to force Henderson to moderate, or recalibrate, the outlandish expectations he’s set for his debut album. He guaranteed a rookie of the year after a draft in which he went third, two picks behind one of the best prospects the NBA has ever seen.


I like Scoot Henderson’s confidence as much as the next Blazers fan. He lacks the cynicism that slowly seeps into us all as we age and watch dreams die or go unfulfilled, so I’m not going to fault him for his bravado. It’s not false, and why would it be for someone blessed with his level of talent? What I would like to do with his bombast though, is find a way to monetize it.