The Trail Blazers’ pool of young talent could attract potential suitors as the trade deadline approaches. According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, 21-year-old guard Anfernee Simons is an ideal target for rebuilding teams looking for a boost.
Schmitz outlined six different prospects that could benefit from a scenery change this month. For Simons, Schmitz explained that teams with rotation-ready players should put in a call to Portland.
If I’m a non-playoff team with a win-now veteran piece I could trade to the Portland Trail Blazers, I’d have my eye on Simons in return. With cornerstones Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum occupying the guard spots and Simons not quite the defender or decision-maker he needs to be to play a consistent role in important games, there’s an opportunity for development-focused teams to take a swing on the young talent.
Schmitz went on to discuss Simons’ promising ceiling as a dynamic backcourt operator.
Wired to score right now, Simons could thrive alongside a big playmaker with the potential to be groomed into more of a lead guard as his game matures. He lives off a lot of tough shots and can also stand to improve as a finisher, and he currently ranks dead last among guards in defensive real plus-minus. But if Simons can go to a team that can afford to play him 20 to 25 minutes a night while letting him learn the nuances of the point guard position on the fly, he has a chance to be more than just a bench bucket-getter in the future.
Simons, who was selected with the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is averaging 8.0 points and 1.4 assists per game in the 2020-21 season. Earlier this month, Simons claimed the dunk contest crown at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game showcase in Atlanta.
You can read the Schmitz’s full story at ESPN+ (subscription required).