Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons had a ton of potential coming into the league and his talent is clearly showing. At just 22 years old, he’s already one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA. Still, there’s tons of room for Ant to grow into the player the Blazers bet on him to become one day when they drafted him 24th overall straight out of high school.
His 3-point shooting is obviously his greatest strength, but at this point in time, it’s really the only above-average aspect to his game. Even though he’s extremely athletic at his position, Simons rarely puts himself in position to use his physical gifts to make an impact on the box score. As a defender, he’s more of a liability than an asset at this stage in his career.
If he can round out the rest of his game, Simons could quickly become one of the most dangerous young guards in the entire league. A great way for prospects to grow is to study film on other players—legends or veterans that they can steal valuable knowledge from.
Portland Trail Blazers young star Anfernee Simons can learn a lot from these guards
The most obvious weaknesses in Simons game are his defense and his lack of an inside game. By watching these following guards, Ant can emulate their strengths to make himself a more well-rounded player.
1. Ray Allen
While Anfernee Simons is already a flamethrower on the perimeter, he can turn his already deadly skill into a lethal one by learning to find himself more opportunities.
Ray Allen was one of the most accurate snipers in NBA history. What was equally impressive to his precision was the way he was always able to find and get off a shot when needed.
Moving without the ball can turn a good shooter into an elite one. While Simons found over four 3-point attempts per game last season, he could significantly raise that number if he exerts more energy into finding open spots along the arc.
Only half of his triples in 2020-2021 came off the catch. He’s a decent pull-up shooter, but finding more catch-and-shoot opportunities will be an easy way to raise his scoring average, while helping the team space the floor.
Of all of his 282 3-point attempts from last year, only 22.4 percent of them were wide open. On those tries, he shot over 50 percent. If he can find more of those next year, he’ll be a significantly more dangerous shooter.
In this seven minute compilation, there’s tons of examples of how Ray Allen is constantly moving without the ball, hovering or cutting to open spaces, and has his hands up at all times, ready to fire away as soon as the leather touches his hands. This ability made him one of the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history and led to that legendary shot against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. If Anfernee Simons can mimic Jesus Shuttlesworth’s tendency to always be moving until the ball finds him open on the arc, he’ll be a much more lethal sniper than he already is.