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Is Anfernee Simons the Future Asset the Blazers Need?

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Portland doesn’t field a lot of young, promising players nowdays. Should they hold onto the one they’ve got?

2021 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have an interesting trade and free agency period ahead in the summer of 2021. They’ll need to make several decisions regarding their current roster, including how much they value nearly every member thereof.

In preparation for the big summer, Dave Deckard and Dia Miller of the Dave and Dia Podcast are asking each other — and you — whether to “Keep or Yeet” each member of the team.

The concept is pretty much like it sounds. Take one Blazers player. Do you keep him around for next season or show him the door?

Today we look at Anfernee Simons. The 22-year-old guard just completed his third NBA season, averaging 7.8 points in 17.3 minutes per game, posting career highs in three-point shots attempted and three-point percentage. Is that enough to justify his presence on the squad?

We hasten to point out that voting “Yeet” (colloquially: to toss away with authority, somewhat gleefully) does not mean that Dave and Dia dislike the player, think the player has no talent, or regret the player being a Blazer. There can be a thousand reasons to yeet your resident shooting guard, only some of which have to do with him.

Similarly, voting “Keep” does not indicate that Dave and Dia think the player is perfect, just that the reasons for keeping him outweigh the reasons for letting him go.

Dia: This is actually a pretty quick answer for me. At least initially. My gut says keep. Ant was a big contributor this season— especially by the end. I think he’s a great complement to our roster and I think he’s worth holding on to.

Dave: Forever-ever, though? I realize we’re only talking about this year and not eternity, but if someone offered you a decent [not spectacular] trade but Simons was part of the package—as he was rumored to be for Aaron Gordon during the season—would you nix the deal because Simons was in it?

Dia: I think we are at a point in the franchise where you have to be open to trading anyone whose name isn’t Damian Lillard. So if the right deal came across the table, any of these players we are chatting about could theoretically be traded in my opinion. I think if a good enough package is offered for anyone other than Dame, at this point you consider it. That being said, I think Anfernee is one you try to hold on to if you can. When I heard about that deal for Gordon, I was of the opinion it should have been made.

Dave: To me, Simons actually got better—or at least more comfortable—as the season wound down. His surety when launching that lightning-quick three is near-unique. Obviously the long ball is a big deal in today’s NBA, but it’s even bigger for Simons. He came into the league as an unknown bundle of talent. The hardest increment to bridge is from 0 to 1. We knew he could do things in the abstract. Could he do anything well enough at an NBA level to lever his way into the rotation? The three-pointer was his answer. He shot 4.4 threes in 17.3 minutes per game, hitting 42.6% of them. That’s not just NBA-worthy, that’s eye-opening. He’s got game. As long as he remains fairly consistent with that shot, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to develop the rest of his portfolio.

Dia: He’s definitely someone we should be holding onto if possible. It’s hard for me to put a clear and hard line of “we absolutely cannot trade this person” with anyone other than Dame right now. That being said, there are a few guys on the list of “we should avoid trading this person unless the absolute perfect trade package that makes us a legit contender includes him” and I’d say Anfernee might fall in that category.

Dave: Simons is interesting because he’s one of the few players the Blazers have in reserve if this all falls apart and they have to rebuild. I’m not sure he ever becomes a franchise-changing superstar, but can he pull a Will Barton career arc? I believe he can. He’s young. He’s got ceiling space above him. For that reason alone, he’d be pretty hard to move. That said, I’d do it in a heartbeat for a win-now star to pair with Dame. If the Blazers get someone who can change the arc of the franchise, they won’t miss Simons more than they’ll miss, say, Gary Trent, Jr. ultimately.

Dia: I tend to agree with you! I think he is a great piece for a rebuild which we will eventually have to start thinking about. But he also fits really well with what we currently have going on. That is a really good reason to keep him.

Dave: Yup. While almost everybody on this team is ultimately “yeet”-able, I’d say keep Simons unless he’s the lever for that big-deal deal. He’s not expensive and he has room to grow...rare qualities on this team at the moment.

What about you, Dear Readers? Do you think Anfernee Simons belongs on the keep or yeet side of the ledger? Share your thoughts below!

The Tally So Far...

CJ McCollum— Dave and Dia “yeet”

Norman Powell— Dave and Dia “keep”

Robert Covington— Dave and Dia “keep”

Jusuf Nurkic— Dave and Dia “yeet”

Derrick Jones, Jr.Dia “keep”, Dave “yeet”

Anfernee Simons— Dave and Dia “keep”