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Blazers’ Anfernee Simons: ‘Spark Plug to Star’?

Anfernee Simons is due for a breakout year with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is coming off a career year in 2022-23, and that upward trajectory is expected to continue going into the upcoming season.

The Bleacher Report staff named Simons to their predicted top 100 players list heading into the 2023-24 season at No. 74. Here’s what Zach Buckley had to write:

In some ways, Anfernee Simons feels like a known commodity. He is, in essence, an undersized scoring guard who can pile up points in a hurry. He pairs a fiery three-ball with dunk-contest hops, plus he’s slippery off the dribble and creative around the basket.

But maybe he has more room to grow than we think. While this will be his sixth NBA season, he’s still only 24 years old. Plus, he has a major opportunity potentially staring him in the face should the Blazers ever honor Damian Lillard’s trade request.

If Simons takes a sizeable step with his playmaking or efficiency—or, fingers crossed, both—he could transform from a spark plug to a star.

Simons is poised for an increased usage rate should Damian Lillard be traded, and as presently constructed, forecasts to take on the lion share of ball handling duties.

Simons had nearly identical usage percentages from 2021-22 to 2022-23 and improved his scoring by 3.8 points per game in six more minutes of playing time. Encouragingly, he recorded seven or more assists seven times last season – four of which came when he shared the floor with Lillard.

BE community, what do you think of Simons’ ranking? Is he too high, too low or just where he’s supposed to be? Chime off in the comments below.