Northwest Notes: Henderson, Ayton, Caruso, Daigneault, Jazz

Scoot Henderson, the third pick of this year’s draft, will return to action on Wednesday against Utah, Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups told reporters, including Aaron J. Fentress of The Oregonian (Twitter link).

Billups added that Henderson will come off the bench and be on a minutes restriction, though he declined to specify the number, tweets Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report. Henderson has been out of action since November 1 after spraining his right ankle.

Unfortunately, just as Henderson was about to return, center Deandre Ayton was a late scratch due to back soreness. Duop Reath, who’s on a two-way deal, will start in Ayton’s place, according to Highkin (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Speaking of Ayton, the Trail Blazers big man faced his former team on Tuesday in Phoenix. After the game, Suns guard Devin Booker said he had a “challenge” for the former No. 1 overall pick. “He played extra hard tonight,” Booker said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I saw that. My challenge for him is to play like that every night.” Ayton’s inconsistent effort level has been called into question throughout his career.
  • Bulls guard/forward Alex Caruso isn’t surprised by Mark Daigneault‘s success with the Thunder, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Daigneault coached Caruso while the two were with the Oklahoma City Blue — the Thunder’s NBA G League affiliate — back in 2016/17. “He coaches and talks exactly the same as he did with the Blue,” Caruso said. “He was always keeping us in really good perspective of how to play and how we were going to be successful. I really enjoyed playing for him.”
  • Jazz head coach Will Hardy said the team needs to play harder, pass the ball and make fewer excuses after Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Lakers, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I mean, the only two things that I care about are: play hard and pass,” he said. “And we’re at a point now where if you’re not willing to do both of those things you cannot play for the Utah Jazz. I think we have had pockets where that’s been our identity. And we’ve had pockets where we have wavered in both departments. I think the biggest thing right now is we just need more of a consistent focus on those two things and those two things only.” Hardy’s comments are worth reading in full for Jazz fans. Utah is now 4-10.
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