If the Portland Trail Blazers play their cards right, they may not have to look to the outside to find their third scoring option. He’s already here.
While Anfernee Simons may have put the nation on notice with his electric performance in last year’s season finale that potentially saved the Portland Trail Blazers‘ season, the young gun out of IMG Academy has returned showing very promising signs of becoming a consistent scoring threat.
Simons has scored double digits points in seven of ten outings thus far off the bench. His ability to get hot at any moment is an invaluable asset to have when Portland must pull one of their two star guards off the court. On Sunday night, he made his most poignant statement yet in an overtime war against the Atlanta Hawks at home in the Moda Center.
In 24 minutes of play, Simons scored 20 points while shooting an efficient 8-for-12 from the field. Of the five triples he launched, three of them went in. His presence as a sharpshooting shot-creator that can take defenders off the dribble is undeniable, and very impressive for the former No. 24 pick in just his second season in the NBA.
At one point, Simons scored 10 consecutive points for the Trail Blazers, finally giving them a bit of breathing room in a close contest against the Hawks.
If not for his streaky shooting, it’s very likely the Blazers would have dropped their fifth consecutive contest, further inducing the fanbase into a panicked fervor. This performance marks a season-high in points scored for Anfernee, and the second highest of his career. I feel confident that there will be plenty more 20+ point games in his future.
But he also showed the ability to do the little things whenever he was on the court. Although he’s known as a defensive liability that hasn’t learned how to be a true playmaker, Anfernee garnered a pair of steals and assists each, while also reeling in three rebounds. Given a larger role with more minutes, it’s likely he improves on that and posts a well-rounded box score.
Ultimately, the Trail Blazers don’t play for the best score. They play to win games. Stepping up in a big way, Simons helped them achieve that goal last night. That’s why he’s our player of the game; now let’s hope he’s got more in store for us soon.