The Trail Blazers used the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to select Anfernee Simons out of IMG Academy earlier this offseason. After becoming a part of Portland’s organization, the 19-year-old guard has prepared on and off the court to make the leap to the NBA. Simons spoke with Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald about what he has been up to since Las Vegas Summer League concluded.
Preparing For The Court
Simons is currently back in Florida, but is planning to resume work in Portland when he returns in early September. Prior to leaving, Simons informed Blazer’s Edge that he has been working closely with handful of the key players from the Blazers’ summer league squad. Jake Layman, Wade Baldwin IV, and fellow rookie Gary Trent Jr. were directly mentioned as players Simons’ honed his craft with at Portland’s practice facility prior to him departing Oregon.
In his personal workouts, the 6-foot-4 guard is balancing overall improvements with preparing his body for physicality of the NBA.
“[I’ve] been staying in the weight room,” said Simons. “I pretty much work on everything.”
Despite being listed at 183 pounds, Simons informed Blazer’s Edge that he has yet to receive word from the Blazers on a target weight for the start of the season.
“We haven’t gotten into too much detail [on weight],” Simons explained. “When I get back there, we will start.”
Making the leap from IMG’s post-grad team to the NBA will undoubtably be a massive leap for Simons. Regardless of the change in competition, the Florida native explained what he feels he will bring to the table as a rookie.
“I know I can come in and make shots. I can put good ball pressure on the opposing point guard, [by] using my length and athleticism to disrupt them. I can [also] score the ball in a variety of ways.”
Simons then gave his thoughts on where his long-term fit might be.
“I feel like they [the Blazers] eventually want me to become a point guard. I think I’m probably going to play a lot of two for now, but I think point guard is where I’ll get eventually.”
The topic of a possible stint in the G-League was also discussed.
“No it hasn’t been brought up,” Simons replied to a question about whether a plan was in place for him to get extra reps elsewhere. “But I’m going in expecting anything. I’m pretty much fine if I go there.”
However the season unfolds for Simons, Damian Lillard did briefly share his personal expectations for the rookie.
“He [Lillard] just said to keep working, because they are going to need me. He said to always be prepared.”
Off The Court
After only a couple months, Simons and his rookie running mate Trent Jr. are forming a bond off the court. In addition to capturing a summer league title together, the two guards spent time with each other at the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program in Parsippany, New Jersey earlier this month. Once Simons returns to Portland, he informed Blazer’s Edge that he plans to continue to strengthen his relationship with Trent.
Even in a whirlwind summer that involved a move across the country, Simons has had a little bit of time to enjoy Portland. He has found an excellent home in the area, and the 19-year-old has tried at least one of the city’s premier food destinations, Screen Door.
Simons will get his first taste of the Moda Center crowd when the Blazers face the Jazz on October 7.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com