2023 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs land franchise PG, tanking pays off for Pistons

Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Ausar Thompson (0) shown during the game against
Dec 9, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; City Reapers guard Ausar Thompson (0) shown during the game against / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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. G-League Ignite. 2. player. . . Scoot Henderson. 29

In just about any other draft in recent memory, Scoot Henderson would likely be the #1 overall pick. His combination of sheer athleticism, pick-and-roll scoring and playmaking, and underrated defensive peskiness has garnered him comparisons to the likes of Derrick Rose, Baron Davis, and occasionally even Ja Morant. He’s undoubtedly the most polished guard prospect for his age in the draft and, despite some claims that Alabama’s Brandon Miller is in the mix, will in all likelihood be the #2 overall pick on draft night.

Critics will point to Henderson’s three-point shooting as a concern, but looking at his touch around the rim, his comfort pulling up in the midrange, and his decent mechanics, I’m confident that this is something that can come around over time. And even with a subpar three-point shot, he still managed to put up 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game in a professional league against adults, many of whom are current and former NBA players.

Other critics may point to his size being an issue, but even at only 6'2", Henderson is stalky and quite strong with a 6'9" wingspan that helps him guard up a lineup reasonably well. Henderson will likely only be a two-position defender on-ball, but his motor and physical attributes will allow him to guard them well.

Some recent intel from Spurs insider LJ Ellis indicates that executives around the NBA believe the Spurs are smitten with both Amen and Ausar Thompson and could even opt to select one of those two over Henderson with the #2 overall pick. And while I don't find it hard to believe that the Spurs like the Thompson twins so much, I'm going to call that for what I think it is: a smokesceen.