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Blazers’ Anfernee Simons Looking Strong in Return to Court

Anfernee Simons is making his presence known after missing most of the first month of the Portland Trail Blazers season.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers had a light schedule this week with just two games against the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks. This week’s games were interspersed between In-Season Tournament knockout round games.

With not a lot of attention on the Blazers’ 0-2 record this week due to the many other games happening at the same time, it can be easy to overlook the performances of a couple individuals during the week. With that being said, this week's Blazer of the Week is Anfernee Simons.

Simons returned from an injury he sustained in the first game of the season, with the matchup against the Warriors being his first game back. He came out of the gate like a shot out of a cannon. He followed up a 28-point performance in his first game back with a 30-point game two nights later. Simons was able to reintegrate himself in the lineup without looking like he missed a beat.

Despite below average shooting from two-point range, he shot just 40 percent from inside the arc in the two games, his three point shooting looked great right away. On a high volume of 23 attempts over the course of the week, Simons made 10 of his shots, good for 43.5 percent from deep.

Simons was also tasked with being the point guard of the starting unit, due to the injury to Malcolm Brogdon halfway into the first game, and Scoot Henderson being moved to the bench since Simons last played. He showed some ability to playmake for those around him during his stretches. He averaged six assists over the two games, a respectable number for someone who is considered a shoot-first point guard.

He did record seven turnovers during the week, six of which came in the game against the Mavericks, but overall did a good job taking care of the ball. His play from the point guard position while Brogdon is out will be essential for the success of the Blazers.

Overall, Simons’ return to action was more than promising. He also proved he can fit into the offense easily without those around him having to sacrifice too much. Of course, Brogdon, Deandre Ayton and Jerami Grant still are not healthy, and it remains to be seen if having all three of those players in the mix with Simons will lead to less shots for players like Shaedon Sharpe and Toumani Camara. However, the early returns on Simons are more than positive as the Blazers look to get fully healthy soon.

Despite the two losses, there were still plenty of strong performances for individual Blazers, so there are a couple of honorable mentions this week. The first is Toumani Camara.

Camara averaged 10.0 points and 11.0 rebounds over the two games this week. His shooting percentage, 26.5 percent, and his fouling, 11 total fouls this week, leave some to be desired. However, he has been thrust into a starting role as a second-round rookie and taken the challenge in stride. So far this year he is averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He has impressed with his energy and defense early into his career, even if his shots are not falling quite yet.

The second honorable mention this week is Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle has been the model of consistency for the Blazers so far this season. He scored nine points on 3 of 5 shooting from behind the arc in both games. He also recorded three steals and a block in each game. His defense has been stellar this season. His ability to pressure ball-handlers and jump passing lanes has given the Blazers plenty of fast break chances off of steals. His 6.4 points per game do not jump off of the page, but his efficiency from three-point range and his incredible defense have been very important to the Blazers so far this year.

Which Blazer impressed you the most this week? Let us know in the comments.