By 750 The Game Staff
He only played 21 minutes before exiting with a shoulder injury, but that was all Scoot Henderson needed to impress pundits watching his summer league debut.
Henderson, Portland’s No. 3 overall selection in the NBA Draft, finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists while shooting 5-for-13 from the floor in the Blazers 100-99 loss Friday to Houston at Vegas Summer League.
But it was how Henderson looked on the floor, beyond the final stats, that got everyone’s attention, including The Ringer’s Bill Simmons.
Simmons watched the second half of the contest courtside in Vegas and recapped his Henderson takes on his podcast.
“I only needed to see four minutes,” Simmons said. “He is going to be a f— star. People can cut this out, they can put it with Titanic music five years from now, I’m going to be right.
“This guy’s a star. He f— has it. I will fight you to the death if you disagree with me.”
The passionate, expletive-laden speech from Simmons is music to Rip City.
Blazers fans are caught in the middle of watching arguably the franchise’s greatest player, Damian Lillard, be traded after eleven remarkable seasons, and welcoming in the next face of the franchise in Henderson. It is a refreshing reminder to hear the high regard many national media, led by Simmons, have for Henderson.
Simmons has been a staunch Henderson supporter since well before the draft.
“He can do two things that you can see right away,” Simmons continued. “He can go by anyone he wants, he’s downhill all the time. The defenders are terrified of him. He can go right by you, he can go left by you, doesn’t matter. He’s going by you.
“I haven’t seen anybody this young be able to do this since (Derrick) Rose and (Russell) Westbrook.”
As for where that leaves the franchise in a post-Lillard world, Simmons says the future is bright.
“The Blazers have to trade Dame,” Simmons declared. “Get him out of there. Start the new era. They hit the jackpot.”
Henderson fell to the Trail Blazers with the third pick after the Charlotte Hornets and outgoing majority owner Michael Jordan passed on Henderson, drafting Alabama wing Brandon Miller at No. 2 overall.
“The Charlotte thing is going to live in infamy,” Simmons said on the decision. “I don’t think Brandon Miller is going to be a bust, but this is going to haunt them. I’m saying it now. This is going to be a disaster for Charlotte.”
Henderson (right shoulder) missed Portland’s second summer league game against Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs and remains day-to-day.
The Blazers (1-1) next face Miller’s Hornets (0-2) on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on NBA TV.