The Portland Trail Blazers picking IMG Academy prospect Anfernee Simons with the 24th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft may have surprised some observers, but the principals already knew it was going to happen. According to Kevin O’Connor, speaking during the Ringer’s NBA Draft Watch Party, Blazers’ President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey already had a deal in place with Simons and his management before the draft.
O’Connor added that a number of other teams, including the Wolves and the Spurs - who picked earlier in the draft - had serious interest in the Florida product.
“With someone like Simons, there was a lot interest with him with some people ahead of them (the Blazers) Minnesota, San Antonio – a couple of teams were trying to go for him late in the process,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor then speculates how the pick might impact the future of the Blazers’ Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum backcourt. Bill Simmons suggests “that backcourt is not a backcourt next year”.
O’Connor gave the Blazers a B+ for the pick.
The Portland discussion happens two hours and 47 minutes into the video coverage.