Anfernee Simons has become an intense area for the Portland Trail Blazers this season. Can he be the long term option as the inferior point player?

Portland Path Blazers guard, Anfernee Simons, is among the most strange packages of capacity in the NBA today. The 24th overall choice in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Blazers organization, hasn’t been shy about the type of possible they see in their young guard, who burst onto the scene in the lone start of his rookie season, dropping 37 points and 9 helps on the Sacramento Kings on the last day of the 2018-19 regular season.

That summer season, Blazers’ GM, Neil Olshey, had this to state about Simons, through The Oregonian:

” He’s as gifted as anybody we have actually ever drafted considering that I’ve been here, in terms of simply natural gifts. He’s not the player [Lillard] and [McCollum] was, however in terms of just natural, God-given, basketball ability, Anfernee is as gifted as any person I have actually ever drafted.”

A few days after Olshey’s comments, Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith, reported that the group was even decreasing to even consider consisting of Simons in trade talks:

Sports jackets’ fans were delighted to see Simons featured in a more popular role last season. There were times when he certainly showed flashes of the ability that had the Blazers’ organization gushing. The day after Christmas, he captured 10 rebounds to support 15 points in a video game versus the Utah Jazz. A few weeks later on, he scored 22 points on 6/7 shooting from three-point variety in a 7-point loss to the Grizzlies.

Sadly, these intense spots were rare for Simons’, specifically as the season endured and he started to appear on more opponents’ scouting reports. He completed his sophomore season with weak averages of simply 8.3 points and 1.4 helps, while shooting simply 40% from the field and 33% from three in about 20 minutes a night.

His inconsistent three-point stroke and absence of playmaking made it hard for him to impact video games positively. This caused Simons’ slipping out of the rotation in the Orlando bubble when the Blazers faced must-win video games to keep the franchise from missing the playoffs for the very first time given that 2013.

Till recently, Simons’ didn’t appear like he would play a huge function in the Blazers’ 2020-2021 project. When Rodney Hood returned from injury, it appeared like head coach Terry Stotts was content letting Hood and in 2015’s second-round choice, Gary Trent Jr., take in the backup guard minutes, as Simons’ played simply 100 overall minutes throughout the group’s first 13 games. However, with CJ McCollum sidelined, the Blazers’ were running thin on ball-handling, which pressed Simons’ into the spotlight.

One aspect of his game Simons’ has been consistent in over the course of his career is looking after the ball. If you take a look at the table listed below, you can see that his turnover portion has actually regularly been one of the most affordable in the league among guards, which is especially encouraging because of how young he is (he turned 21 last June).

His ball-handling capability needs to be put to the test this season as he’s going to have to be the primary ball-handler especially due to Damian Lillard being the only true point guard on the Blazers’ roster. I’m really curious to see how he fares in his minutes without Lillard (and CJ) to alleviate some of the ball-handling tasks.

Perhaps the most essential improvement Simons appears to have made this year has been his three-point shooting capability. In the 4 video games because the CJ injury, he’s 16/30 from beyond the arc, bumping his three-point percentage approximately 41.9% on the year.

His confidence appears, as over 70% of his field-goal efforts have actually come from deep (by means of – Simon’s looks like Dame at times with his capability to create the foot or more of area essential to get his shot off. He’s gotten a couple of tricks over the previous 3 seasons under Lillard’s tutelage. Now it’s still early, and we’ll have to be client and see if Simons can sustain this existing stretch of hot shooting, but there’s little doubt that the early returns have actually been motivating.

A location where I’m sure the Blazers’ wishes to see some improvement from Simons is his defense. According to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR Player Scores tool, Simons’ rates as the second-worst protector in the NBA so far this season (among all gamers who have played minutes. 175 minutes this season). That is bad, to say the least, and for Simons’ to be effective now, and later on in his profession, he needs to show he’s capable of locking in on the less attractive end of the flooring.

Blazers fans should be really thrilled to see how Simons contributes this season and I need to state, I’m positive that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it pertains to all the important things that he can do on the court. Simons and the Blazers are back in action Saturday night when they take on the Chicago Bulls; I can’t wait to see what he has in store. Keep shooting, Anfernee!