At the draft combine, Henderson (repeatedly) said he can play on or off the ball.

At the draft combine in Chicago, Scoot Henderson said that he can play on the ball or off the ball, point guard or shooting guard, and that he’d fit in just fine with the Charlotte Hornets alongside LaMelo Ball or with the Portland Trail Blazers next to Damian Lillard.

Henderson is widely expected to be selected either second or third in the 2023 draft, which is scheduled for June 22 at Barclays Center. The results of Tuesday’s lottery, however, have complicated things: Charlotte came away with the No. 2 pick, Portland came away with the No. 3 pick and both teams already have franchise players who play point guard. The Blazers might also be incentivized to trade the pick for immediate help, given that its franchise player will turn 33 this summer. Henderson knows all of this, and, when he met with reporters, he made it clear that he believes he can thrive in both places — or anywhere else.

On the Hornets, he said: “I think I’d fit in with Melo and the way they play over there. I think I can play off the ball and on the ball and that’s what so special about my gift, I think. I don’t have to have the ball in my hand to impact on the floor. I’m not crazy ball-dominant, like I’ll have the ball in my hand when it’s time.”

Henderson and Ball were on the same Rising Stars team at All-Star weekend in 2022. That night, Ball’s creativity stood out to Henderson. “Just seeing that up close, it was pretty cool,” he said. 

On the Blazers, he said: “I am a Dame fan. I think I’d work out over there as well. Like I said, I don’t have to be ball-dominant. When my time comes, I’ll kill. When it’s my time. I think I can work in any situation that God puts me in.”

All of this echoed what he said to ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Zach Lowe a day earlier: “I think anywhere is a good fit. Like, I can play off the ball, that’s what so special about me. I can play off the ball, I can defend, I can do so many things. I don’t have to have the ball in my hand to manipulate the defense or make a big impact on a team.” 

Reporters came and went throughout Henderson’s media availability, which meant he fielded the same questions about both teams more than once. He repeatedly said that he can impact games in multiple ways and will bring a winning mentality to whichever team drafts him, adding that he thinks he would “play great with Dame Lillard” and can “coexist with anybody” and “fit anywhere.”

“It really doesn’t matter,” Henderson said. “I can play anywhere on the court and still impact the game.”

Henderson said that he loves to watch two-point-guard lineups and specifically mentioned watching how Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole operate in the Golden State Warriors’ offense. Asked about his experience playing off the ball, he said he did it “in high school a little bit” and referenced the 2021-22 season with the G League Ignite, in which he played with guards Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy and Pooh Jeter. Their coach, Jason Hart, referred to him as a “points guard” back then, he said.

“My experience is to score,” Henderson said. “I think I can score at all three levels. So when I’m playing off the ball, I can catch and shoot, I can attack off the catch. I feel like I dominate crazy off the catch, ’cause I got the live dribble. Walking the ball up the court, I can do that as well. I can create my own shot.”

Asked if it bothers him when people say that he can’t play with another point guard, Henderson said, “It kind of does, honestly.”

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