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Blazers’ Simons Discusses Struggles, Perseverance

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Second-year Trail Blazers guard spoke with The Athletic’s Jason Quick about struggles and expectations.

Sacramento Kings v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Like the majority of the Trail Blazers’ hopes for the 2019-20 season, the quick development of second-year guard Anfernee Simons has not gone according to plan. Regardless of his next-level talent and blue-collar work ethic, Simons has endured a season of ups and downs. With the NBA on pause, the former IMG Academy star spoke with The Athletic’s Jason Quick about his sophomore NBA season.

Simons, who is shooting 40.2 percent from the field through 65 games this season, admitted that the lulls in his on-court output elicit emotions during his downtime.

“It’s been a lot of mixed emotions, especially after games,” Simons said. “Those are probably the hardest times, and in the moment it’s tough to deal with. Obviously, I want this adversity to go away and for me to overcome it, but I feel like God puts you in these positions for a reason: to get you prepped for something bigger than you can see. So I just tell myself I have to stay levelheaded and realize that it might take even more than I usually do to get over the hump.”

Staying levelheaded is crucial to Simons’ growth. According to Simons, he has maintained a realistic outlook despite the hefty preseason praise he received from Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey prior to the season. Regardless of his various struggles in an increased role, Simons explained to Quick that Olshey’s preseason comments have not added pressure to his development.

“When he said those things, I didn’t worry about it,” Simons said. “I knew he believed in me, and I mean, that’s the only thing I should be worried about. So I really didn’t think about it much.”

When it comes to Simons’ teammates, CJ McCollum is a firm believer in his counterpart’s upside.

“He works hard and asks the right questions and once he puts it all together and gets used to the NBA game, and figures out who he is and what he is capable of, he will have a very bright future,” McCollum said.

You can read the full story from Quick at The Athletic.