Anfernee Simons has now played two full games for the Portland Trail Blazers after missing 18 of the team’s first 19 with a thumb injury. Following Portland’s 125-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks last night, Simons answered media questions in the locker room. Here are his thoughts on his own development, coming back to action, and fellow backcourt member Scoot Henderson.
On assimilating with the squad following an extended injury absence:
Yeah, I felt pretty good. I won’t say I’m trying to ease into it, but I’m trying to see what the team needs at the time. I knew we needed a little bit of push. I tried to be extra aggressive. I was trying to analyze in the first couple minutes of the game how they were guarding me in each situation. I made a couple of bad decisions in that process, but I learned quickly and that’s what made me go into that little run.
On his offensive game:
I can help out with the spacing a lot, drawing attention in the pick and roll, getting a four-on-three advantage on the back side. It just makes everything much easier for everybody else, making those type of decisions. We’ve just got to learn from that, continue to work on it and drill it. I think we’re going to get better at that as well.
On his own development as a point guard:
I’ve gotten so much better since emphasizing that during the summer. It’s more I’m out there thinking the game instead of just thinking about coming off the pick and roll and just shooting the ball or passing the ball. When I’m coming off the screen and I see Tim Hardaway pulling off early, I need to dish it out early instead of getting too far into the paint. That’s when they come and set a charge. It’s happened a couple of times. I’m out there thinking the game much more than I usually would. Just thinking of counters. As soon as I do this one, I’m thinking about the next play.
On Scoot Henderson’s ups and downs:
Experience is the best teacher for sure. You can tell somebody, “Hey, look, this is happening,” but you have to actually see it happening over and over again to actually grasp it. That’s why I had to go through it at an early age. You’ve just got to be mentally tough to get through that. I think he is. There’s going to be struggles at times, but continue to go out there and keep playing hard and doing your thing. I think that’s the only thing we’ve got to tell him, is to stay confident. This is the process of becoming who you want to be. Everybody goes through this time.
Simons also talks about the difficulties of injuries, plus getting down in games and trying to come back. You can find the full interview on YouTube if you can’t see it above.