Whether the Trail Blazers make moves or not, this team is competitive enough to battle their way into the playoff race. The recent Rodney Hood injury only makes the journey more difficult, but it just means that the young guys need to step up.
When it comes to the production of the Trail Blazers young core, it starts and ends with Anfernee Simons. Simons is by far the most complete player off the bench for the Trail Blazers and it’s time for him to showcase that.
Last year, Simons appeared in just twenty games playing just seven minutes per outing with no valuable time under his belt. Now things have changed drastically. Simons has already seen action in twenty-five games while playing over twenty minutes per night. And, the Hood injury only gives Simons more opportunities. His minutes will be increased and so will his shot attempts.
The bag is endless for Simons. The explosion off the dribble, mixed with the step back, and the ability to elevate makes him lethal when he’s in rhythm. But, it comes down to consistency with Anfernee. That’s the only thing holding him back at this point in his career. He’s shown moments of being great this year and being someone the Blazers can depend on.
He has games where he showcases his offensive arsenal and has big nights, but also has nights where he struggles. Consistency is something that usually improves with experience so expect Simons to make massive strides in that department as the season goes on.
Coming into this season, the Trail Blazers knew Simons would be important to the team success, but nobody expected the injuries to come leading to Simons being so crucial for this team. When Simons is in rhythm with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, this team is scary. Without a doubt, they’re the best guard trio in the NBA when things are clicking.
As surprising as this is to say, Simons is the difference-maker for this Blazer team as of now. What makes him different from the other players on the Trail Blazers roster is the fact that he’s a shot creator. Anytime the ball is in Simons’ hands, he can either create for himself or someone else.
When it comes down to it, Anfernee Simons has an incredible opportunity to make a name for himself at such a young age and expect him to take this moment and run with it because he is truly special.