Portland Trail Blazers: 3 steps for Anfernee Simons to become a star

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Portland Trail Blazers came away with somewhat of a steal when they selected Anfernee Simons with the 24th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Although that was a loaded class, Simons came with spectacular value once he fell into the Blazers lap.

The young guard made waves as he was one of the first players to forego a one-and-done season in college, opting instead to declare for the draft straight out of high school, eligible due to his age.

That made him a high-risk, high-reward prospect, having earned a 5-star status with 247Sports, but entering the league with almost zero film against Division I talent.

Anfernee Simons is on the brink of stardom for the Portland Trail Blazers

The word steal started circulating after Simons wrapped up a scarcely played rookie season with a 37 point game that included 7/11 shooting from behind the arc against the Sacramento Kings. At just 20 years old, Simons showed how well-suited his game is for the modern NBA and just how high his ceiling is.

Since that explosive regular season finale, he’s proved to be a useful bench scorer and regularly shows flashes of his top-tier potential. In 2021-2022, he’ll be entering his fourth season at just 22 years old.

The stagnation in production between his second and third seasons as a pro is discouraging, but the guard clearly has room to grow. Even though the traditional box score doesn’t show much improvement, his uptick in outside shooting established Simons as an elite deep threat. That’s a skillset he can certainly build his game around after finishing the 2020-2021 season as an over 40 percent 3-point shooter.

Already in the upper-echelon as a sniper, perhaps the most important skill for a perimeter player in today’s game, with a few improvements in the supporting areas of his game, Simons can absolutely become an All-Star in this league someday.

Here are the three areas that Ant should work on to realize his full potential: