The Portland Trail Blazers added Anfernee Simons (No. 24 overall pick) and Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 overall pick, via trade) during the NBA Draft, giving them two young players that likely contribute in the long, not short, term. Both being guards, they have big-name players already in front of them with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Given this, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report sets relatively modest projections for them in their rookie year, and also tries to tell what is coming in their NBA futures.
It would be surprising if Simons has a big role next season. His body doesn’t appear ready for the game he prefers to play. The G League makes the most sense for him next year. He’ll get the chance to play big minutes, strengthen his upper body, work on creating for others and sharpen his jump shot.
Projected role: Sixth man/microwave scorer
Simons will always be valued for his scoring punch first. His ceiling looks similar to microwaves like Ellis or Lou Williams—undersized shooting guards who could still put points up in a hurry. Depending on his efficiency, his game may wind up being best suited for a sixth-man role, although he does possess starter talent and upside.
Rookie year projection
Trent’s struggles inside the arc and defensively will make him tough to play many minutes as a rookie. He’s a strong G League candidate for next season, though he should receive his opportunity to come in, space the floor and knock down open shots. But that may be all he’s good for during his first NBA season.
Projected role: Shot-making role player
All teams need shot-makers, and Trent should be one of the best in the draft. The question is how much his weaknesses hold him back, and whether he can improve them over time. He hasn’t shown to be as creative of a scorer as Devin Booker, who’s succeeded with similarly average explosion. Worst case, Trent is another James Young. Best case, he’s productive in the form of Hield.
What kind of role do you expect Simons and Trent Jr. to hold in Year 1? Will either crack the regular rotation by the end of the year? Let us know in the comments.
Also make sure to read our draft coverage at Blazer’s Edge: