Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons were named as participants in the 2023 Starry 3-Point Contest as part of this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend. The Portland Trail Blazers starting backcourt has been perhaps the best shooting tandem of guards in the league this season.
Simons, meanwhile, is in the midst of his breakout NBA campaign. He’s averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game, and is hitting 38.1 percent of his career-high 9.2 attempts from deep.
But after suffering an ankle injury in the Blazers final game before the break, Ant’s availability for this season’s contest has been in doubt.
Will Anfernee Simons be available for the 2023 NBA 3-point contest?
Unfortunately for Trail Blazers fans, the answer to this question is no.
Portland confirmed the 23-year-old suffered a grade 2 ankle sprain and will be “reevaluated” after the all-star break. That’s not fantastic news for the Blazers and their second-leading scorer.
Certainly, both parties will be far more concerned about the ankle injury than missing a chance to compete for a 3-point title. It would have been nice, though, for Portland to have its two leading scorers firing away from deep in front of a national audience.
Ant’s injury comes at an inopportune time for a team fighting for a playoff spot with only 24 games remaining in the regular season. (Although the injury may be a slight positive for fans hoping for a lottery pick rather than a postseason appearance.)
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle will take Simons’ spot in a contest that also features Jayson Tatum, Tyler Herro, Tyrese Haliburton, Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Huerter, and Buddy Hield.