During media availability, Portland Trail Blazers’ President of Basketball Operatons, Neil Olshey, voiced his confidence in Anfernee Simons serving as the team’s backup point guard, though most of the minutes are likely to be taken by CJ McCollum. Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian examines the tension created by Simons’ need for development. Simons recognizes that need, noting how much he has learned from being behind Damian Lillard and McCollum.
“I love being here, I love being in Portland, learning from Dame and CJ,” Simons said. “That’s the best backcourt in the league. I think learning from them, especially as a young guy coming out of high school, I just want to soak in as much as I can and keep learning from them. And then when my opportunity comes to go out there and play, I’ll be ready and be able to compete at a high level.”
Lillard has confidence that Simons can grow into the role.
“Ant is super talented,” Lillard said. “He came in the league young and it takes time. It takes experience.”
As for specifically playing point guard, Simons believes he can play both guard positions.
“I think I can play both,” Simons said. “Growing up my natural position was the 2 because I could score the ball so well. So, I think eventually I can grow into being a point guard. But my natural position right now is the 2-guard, being able to score.”
Lillard noted that the speed of the NBA game certainly plays a factor, especially for a young player who didn’t play college ball.
“It’s just a matter of being able to think the game fast, being able to be consistent, being able for the team to count on you, regularly,” Lillard said.
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