Portland Trail Blazers: Who should Anfernee Simons be studying in quarantine?

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
D’Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

A realistic goal in facilitating: D’Angelo Russell

I could’ve easily went with Chris Paul again here, but I want these study sessions to be realistic as well, and as talented as Simons is, I don’t believe he will ever be able to pass the ball like Chris Paul. CP3’s peak was 11.6 assists per game, and Simons won’t live up to that.

However, if Simons wants to play point guard, he needs to be able to create offense for others, and one guard who has experienced a steady improvement in this category is D’Angelo Russell. Russell, now in Minnesota, averaged just 3 assists in his first year, but is now up to around 7 dimes a game, despite not looking like a pass-first guard.

Russell does a lot of driving and dishing, looking for the open man on the perimeter. It’s usually not too fancy, and doesn’t impact his scoring either. He tends to use his screener well too, something Simons will be expected to do, given Jusuf Nurkic‘s strength’s and the way the Blazers like the play basketball.

If Simons is coming off the bench, he won’t be expected to average 7+ assists, but the way Russell keeps one eye on the perimeter is something Simons needs to incorporate more. Too often the young guard rushes into a contested shot, and doesn’t maximize his options on the court. I think facilitation is Simons’ biggest point of work, something he needs to improve if he wants to play point guard.