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Anfernee Simons Poised to Take a Leap in 2019-20 Season

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes about Simons as one of several players ready for a breakout.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Utah Jazz Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Much hype is surrounding second-year Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, who is expected to receive a more involved role during the 2019-20 season. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote about Simons as one of several players ready for a breakout season:

Reading too much into summer league is usually a bad idea, but it was hard to watch Blazers guard Simons make defenses look foolish in Las Vegas and not think he’ll be special.

Allow yourself to get excited here. So much of what Simons did is translatable to the regular season and playoffs: He drained dribble jumper 3s with a hand in his face, broke down defenders with his smooth handle to pull up from midrange, and got to the basket. At age 20, he’s just a baby by NBA standards, but his Vegas performance was evidence that his 37-point, nine-assist game against the Kings to close the regular season wasn’t an aberration.

Simons also gave insight to O’Connor about his summer workouts, which included some time with Damian Lillard’s longtime trainer, Phil Beckner:

Simons told me he trained this summer with Justin Zormelo, who he connected with before the draft, and with Phil Beckner, who works with Lillard. With Zormelo, Simons worked extensively on slowing down on drives and drawing fouls. With Beckner, it was about increasing his shooting range and orchestrating and scoring in the pick-and-roll. Being around Lillard for the past year has been particularly eye-opening. “He’s taught me everything I need to know about the NBA game, just by watching him,” Simons said.

You can read more from O’Connor here.