Portland Trail Blazers rookie Anfernee Simons showed real promise over the week and a half at Las Vegas Summer League. The 19-year-old averaged 11 points and 3.2 rebounds across 20 minutes in six games and shot 43 percent from the field. Perhaps most impressive, however, was the fact that the youngster looked like he belonged.
As Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer writes, the guard held his own on both ends of the court during the team’s march to the championship:
At 6-foot-3.25 with a long 6-foot-9.25 wingspan and bouncy athleticism, Simons is already providing answers to the pre-draft worries by showing shot-creation skill in the pick-and-roll and by shooting well off the bounce. He’s still young and raw, so scoring against NBA-level defenders will be a new challenge. But the early returns playing for the Las Vegas summer league champs are positive—he flat-out looks comfortable and plays with both pace and feel. The fact Simons is already playing competitive defense by sliding over screens and generally being in the right position is even more encouraging. Simons still has a long way to go, but he already has the makings of being a perfect third wheel behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum—or maybe someday, a replacement.
Here’s a look at the rookie’s highlights from his 20-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks on July 12:
It will be interesting to see how Simons fares in the preseason when facing established NBA players, as opposed to primarily younger, unproven players in Vegas. Nonetheless, his showing during Summer League is an encouraging development in what has been a rough offseason to this point in Portland.