Everyone in Rip City is watching Anfernee Simons closely, and his performance at Summer League gave Portland Trail Blazer fans limited time to see his potential. Joe Freeman of the Oregonian examines how Simons’ play at Summer League—ended by a sprained ankle—helped the second-year guard develop a better skillset and understanding of the game. Simons acknowledged what he learned over the course of his three-game stint.
“I think summer league was good for me,” Simons said. “Just to be able to come in and just play and run a different position. I learned a lot in three games and I think I’ll be a smarter player and a better player just experiencing this. I’m only going to grow from here.”
Simons opened up Summer League with a cold performance against the Detroit Pistons, only to come back over the next two games red-hot. But Simons learned more than resilience during his time in Las Vegas.
Simons acknowledged that he had a few challenges balancing scoring with facilitating and it was a game-by-game puzzle trying to figure out when to attack and when to steady the team. The toughest task, he says, came when plays broke down and he had to quickly process whether to stay the course, correct the offense and bank on something developing for a teammate or scrap the play altogether and improvise, creating a scoring chance for himself.
Simons, who played at IMG Academy for a year prior to being drafted by the Trail Blazers, has a long way to go. Yet there is no doubt that he is brimming with potential, acknowledges Freeman, who says Simons is all but guaranteed a spot in the rotation this upcoming season.
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