A hot start to the season from Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons has tailed off slightly, but the youngster (and fans) have nothing to worry about.
The mood is up in Portland, as this Trail Blazers team seem to have turned a corner, and have won three straight for the first time this season.
The new starting 5 has gelled instantly, and Carmelo Anthony’s arrival has transformed the offense. Friday’s win against the Bulls highlighted the starters impact especially, as they combined to score 98 of the Blazers 107 total points.
Anfernee Simons however, scored just one point in the win, a performance which has become not unfamiliar over the past ten games or so.
His obvious offensive potential and clear similarities to Damian Lillard has excited fans this season, as Simons has become a favorite in Rip City. Simons started the season off shooting the ball really well, and has enjoyed some significant moments, like his clutch shot against Philadelphia, or his 4th quarter takeover vs the Clippers.
However, in the last ten games, Simons has cooled off considerably, shooting 34.1 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from three, averaging 8.6 points.
Melo’s arrival and the Blazers starting 5 excelling will mean slightly less shots for Simons overall, and his role in the offense will regress a little. But I don’t believe this is a negative thing, as all the injuries and roster confusion had granted Simons with a marginally bigger role than he needs now.
In the midst of the Blazers struggles, the 20-year-old was relied on far too heavily for offensive production; Simons showed off both is potential and inconsistency in this role.
With Melo now in the lineup, Simons can go back to being only a bench spark, Portland’s offensive wildcard. For a player as young as Simons, ‘sophomore slumps’ are extremely normal, and the last ten games is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
I say sophomore slump, as last season Simons played in just 20 games. This season feels like his rookie year, and each game that goes by is an entirely new experience for the guard. He has shown more than enough to afford a slight dip in form, and I’m confident in him breaking out of this slump.
Rodney Hood was confident in Simons getting back to scoring the ball, and said the team ‘never have to worry about that with Ant’.
As long as Simons continues to be aggressive, and shadow Lillard and McCollum, he’ll be absolutely fine, and the perfect bench option for the Blazers this season.