Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons will be a huge part of the team in the final 21 games of the season.
In Zach Harper’s Power Rankings on The Athletic this week, he shares how high he views Simons and what he can bring to the table down the stretch.
Prediction for the final stretch: Simons averages over 25 points per game for the final stretch of the season, but the Blazers just miss out on the 10-spot in the Play-In Tournament.
Simons is averaging 17.8 points per game this season, but with consistent starter minutes and not many other creators surrounding him, can he put up 25 points per game for the rest of the season?
It’s a lofty goal, and even if he accomplishes it, the efforts may not be enough for the Blazers to secure a spot in the Play-In Tournament.
The Blazers currently sit tied for 10th in the Western Conference with the New Orleans Pelicans, who sit at No. 19 in the Power Rankings.
How we feeling? The Portland Trail Blazers are definitely not where they hoped to be when the season began, but they’ve managed to do something in this disappointing plight of the season. They’ve managed to get fans excited for this final stretch run. The Blazers are still very much in this Play-In Tournament hunt despite missing every starter from the beginning of the season. Some of the hope comes from that. But mostly, that hope is because of the emergence of Anfernee Simons. In the 26 games since Damian Lillard went down with an injury, Simons has played in 25 of those contests and averaged 23.3 points on 45.8/41.2/85.3 shooting splits. It’s the perfect thing to help the Blazers soften the blow of this season and it’s the perfect thing for Simons to do heading into restricted free agency.
This week, the Blazers face off against the Phoenix Suns (No. 2) on Wednesday and the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 17) on Saturday, and Simons will begin his quest to fulfill Harper’s hot take and average 25 points per game for the rest of the season.