Scoot Henderson may be the NBA’s next rising star, but has hidden flaws

NBA Draft prospect Scoot Henderson (Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Scoot Henderson (Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4
NBA Draft
NBA Draft prospects Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Scoot Henderson’s potential fatal flaws

Scoot Henderson has garnered a reputation for being an elite guard prospect who would’ve been the No. 1 pick in most drafts over the last couple of years. While I agree that he is extremely talented, I believe his flaws could keep him from reaching his ceiling.

The first issue is that his performance this past season was a bit underwhelming, and he struggled in a few key areas where he was fine before, like two-point scoring and perimeter defense. Although I mentioned earlier that he has the potential to be effective in these two areas, his most recent production showed that he might not be quite as good in these areas as people believe.

Let’s start with his defense. After posting a 2.9% steal rate in 2021, his steal rate declined to just 1.9% this past season. Steal rate is not the end-all-be-all measurement of perimeter defense, but it has historically been a decent signal for it, and Henderson’s steal rate was incredibly low for a guard his size.

To make matters worse, many draft analysts have noted that Henderson’s defense is pretty weak at this stage in his development, with discipline being an issue for him on this end of the floor. This could be a major problem down the road, as opposing teams may look to target him in the playoffs.

Another issue is his scoring inside the arc. This past season, Henderson averaged just 1.6 two-pointers made per 40 minutes, and he made just 44.7% of his two-point attempts. He also had a free throw rate of just .194.

I have a custom interior scoring metric that uses a player’s production and height to estimate their ability to score at the basket. Henderson ranks in the 0th percentile in this metric among guard prospects since 2019. Keep in mind that this stat isn’t perfect and is purely an estimation of a player’s interior scoring using simple box score data. Still, this is pretty bad for a guy whose known for being a great athlete who can generate rim attempts whenever he wants.

This leads to another one of Henderson’s issues which have been a consistent problem for the past two seasons: three-point shooting. Last season, he averaged just 3.6 three-point attempts per 40 minutes, making just 32.4% of them. His jump shot isn’t broken, as he made 75% of his free throws, but it’s highly unlikely he will ever become a great high-volume three-point shooter.

This won’t be a big deal if he becomes a great finisher in the half-court. However, it’s hard to envision him providing a ton of value offensively if he can’t score at the rim or shoot from distance. If he continues to struggle in these two areas, it will be nearly impossible for him to improve upon his 54.9% true shooting percentage from last season, which is below average even for a guard.

To be fair, Henderson suffered multiple serious injuries this past season, including a concussion, a nasal fracture, and an ankle injury. These injuries were such a big problem that the Ignite shut him down before the end of the year. These injuries could be the reason why he struggled a bit, and perhaps we should disregard his underwhelming production as an interior scorer and perimeter defender this past season.

Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt due to his injuries, his three-point shooting and defense are pretty big question marks that could limit his value, especially as a 6-foot-2 guard. At his height, he really needs to improve in these areas to hit his ceiling, which is extremely high if he does.