Scoot Henderson‘s role in the Trail Blazers’ backcourt will be vastly different if Damian Lillard gets traded, but the former G League Ignite star plans to approach his rookie season the same way no matter what happens. In an interview with Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Henderson said he’s grateful for the advice Lillard has offered so far and he’s not watching the internet to check the status of trade talks.
“If he leaves, I’m going to just embrace that,” Henderson said. “I’m going to embrace being the point guard for the team. And that comes with practice. I don’t have my spot guaranteed; I know that. My goal is to get better every day at practice and get better game by game.”
Midway through the interview, members of the Hornets walked past and Brandon Miller stopped to ask Henderson about the shoulder injury he suffered in his first Summer League game. O’Connor questioned Henderson about why Miller was drafted ahead of him and whether sliding to No. 3 will provide any extra incentive.
“If I was the no. 1 pick I’d still feel the edge,” Henderson replied. “So just making sure everybody knows that that’s how I’m coming, and I’m coming up with a fiery edge for myself no matter where I went. I would’ve had the same edge if I went 1. My main focus is basketball and being the greatest version of myself. So, whether I was 1, 2, 50, I would still have that edge.”
There’s more on the Blazers:
- Henderson made an extremely strong impression on rival teams with his Summer League performance, even though it was limited to 21 minutes, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Mannix said a couple representatives from other teams suggested that even the Spurs might eventually regret passing on Henderson to take Victor Wembanyama.
- Portland coach Chauncey Billups admitted that Lillard’s trade request has brought a level of chaos to the summer, Mannix adds. Billups stated that he understands that Lillard needs to make the best decision for his career, and he complimented general manager Joe Cronin for how he has handled the situation. “You can’t control fate. So we’ll see how it plays,” Billups said. “But for me as a coach, there’s a lot of other guys on the team that I have to coach and that I have to be here for, that I have to mentor, I have to teach, and I want us to just continue to move forward, however we do that.”
- Lillard posted an Instagram message Friday night to try to calm a social media controversy, per Larry Brown Sports. Lillard recently liked a tweet calling for Nike founder Phil Knight to buy the team from Jody Allen and convince Lillard to change his mind about being traded. On Instagram, Lillard called the incident a “mishap” and said he didn’t intend to disrespect Allen.