Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is more than exceeding expectations, according to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale.
The NBA analyst rated each team’s best player under the age of 25, giving Simons, 23, a B+ for his impact on the Blazers.
According to Favale’s criteria, an A represents a player “killing it relative to all expectations” and a B rates a player “exceeding expectations.”
Anfernee Simons has not seriously expanded his game from last year, which is actually in itself a feat. He is playing more than ever, and defending harder than ever, yet has not seen his efficiency implode. It has mostly weathered the storm of greater volume.
High variability is caked into his performances. That comes with the territory of a 23-year-old bestowed an unconditional green light off the dribble.
In the absence of gaga efficiency on self-created jumpers or general pick-and-roll mastery, he has parlayed extra half-court space into more rim pressure and cleaner finishing to go with it. The touch on both his floater (53.3 percent) and spot-up three (41.5 percent) remains.
Simons continues to make incremental playmaking strides, as well. His potential assists are down from last season, but the Blazers are better at the top and have placed him into a more even-keeled role. He can be trusted to get the ball to his teammates in open space sooner and with more gusto.
Broadening his offensive margins—and, again, leveling up on defense—has helped Portland navigate protracted stretches and entire games without Damian Lillard. Lineups with Simons as the lead guard are a plus-12.3 points per 100 possessions, a body of success for which he’s not solely responsible but his play makes possible.
This season, Simons is averaging 22.3 points on 36 percent from deep, 3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 0.8 steals.
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