Scoot Henderson has yet to play a single minute in the NBA.
And yet the 19-year-old is already one of the league’s most compelling players.
Henderson was long considered the “other” superstar in the 2023 NBA Draft behind Victor Wembanyama. Though he ultimately went third to the Portland Trail Blazers after the Charlotte Hornets selected Alabama forward Brandon Miller No. 2 overall.
That decision may well work out perfectly for Henderson.
The Blazers are in the process of beginning a rebuild following Damian Lillard’s trade request. But Portland is still full of young talent and Lillard’s eventual departure gives Henderson a larger platform to shine.
And that’s exactly what the Georgia native says he’s going to do.
“My goal, obviously, is to win Rookie of the Year, and I will win Rookie of the Year,” Henderson said in a video for Playmaker.
But he didn’t stop there. When asked where he gets such confidence, Henderson says it’s something he’s built from a young age.
“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.”
Henderson’s claim may come as a surprise to some. Vegas lists him as the consensus third favorite for the award behind Wembanyama and 2022’s No. 2 overall pick, Chet Holmgren, who sat out the previous season with an injury.
But Henderson could have a leading role in the Blazers offense and on a team that could be better than many expect. If that’s the case, his guarantee may just prove true.