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Guard-heavy Blazers land PG Scoot Henderson

Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Scoot Henderson with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected third by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Scoot Henderson rated as the best pure point guard in the draft, and the Portland Trail Blazers didn’t blink when the 19-year-old was available with the third overall pick Thursday night.

Henderson averaged 16.1 points, 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game in two seasons in the G League.

“They’re getting a dog that’s gonna come in and be hungry,” Henderson said stage-side in an ESPN TV interview. “I’m young, but I’ve got a mature mindset, and that’s to work and to come in and make a real impact, not just the basketball side, but the community. So they’re getting a special player, a special person.”

Special would also apply to the Blazers’ collection of backcourt talent.

All-Star Damian Lillard is 33 but said he is committed to remaining with the team. The Blazers drafted guard Shaedon Sharpe at No. 7 overall in 2022, and shooting guard Anfernee Simons, the No. 24 overall pick in 2018, averaged 21.1 points and 4.1 assists last season.

Speculation began immediately after the selection that Lillard could be on the trade block, with the Miami Heat among teams rumored to be interested.

Portland general manager Joe Cronin said following the NBA draft lottery in May that the Blazers were intent on building around Lillard.

“We’re a team that’s trying to win and trying to maximize Damian’s timeline,” he said.

–Field Level Media