Blazers path to building a contender after inevitable Damian Lillard trade

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports /

Step No. 3: Keep Blazers guard trio together

There’s been much discussion about whether the Blazers should keep all their guards intact, particularly Anfernee Simons. Simons was viewed as the odd man out when it was believed that the franchise was planning to proceed with Lillard and rookie Scoot Henderson.

However, now that Lillard is out of the picture, Portland should do everything it can to keep Simons. He’s on a team-friendly contract after signing a four-year, $100 million deal last year, which should also be a factor.

Last season, Simons averaged 21.1 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds on 45/38/89 shooting splits. He’s still only 24 years old and fits in excellently with the up-and-coming draft picks from the past two seasons.

In the 11 games Simons played without Lillard last year, he averaged 27.9 points, 5.7 assists and 2.9 rebounds. He’s an underrated player who could be in the conversation for the Most Improved Player Award heading into next season.

In addition, Simons has a skill set as a combo guard that can fill in for Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe when needed.

The Blazers will likely roll out a starting lineup with all three guards. In the long term, they might be better off with Simons coming off the bench as one of the league’s best sixth men. But until they find a better starting forward, it makes sense to start all three promising guards.