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Simons: Young Teammates ‘Took Full Advantage’ of Opportunity vs. Suns

The young veteran enjoyed seeing his teammates’ hard work with the Remix pay off in an NBA game.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

With a long list of players on the injury report, the Portland Trail Blazers dipped into the Rip City Remix reserve for Sunday’s 127-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Despite the defeat, Portland’s deep rotation guys provided a spark that led to the team’s most competitive performance in a week.

The Remix coming-out party was led by rookies Kris Murray and Rayan Rupert, who scored 13 points and 11 points, respectively, against the likes of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker.

Following the game, Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons praised his younger teammates for being ready for the moment.

A lot of young guys got a good opportunity tonight and they took full advantage of it, so I’m proud of them about that. They’ve been playing in the G League and coming back up and just waiting for the opportunity, and they showed it tonight ... they’ve been working their [butts] off for this moment right here.

Rupert’s 11 points came on an efficient 4-5 shooting performance, including a perfect 3-3 mark from 3-point range. The 19-year-old forward, drafted by Portland with the 43rd pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, also added five rebounds and two assists.

Simons liked what he saw from the young rookie out of France.

He’s one of those guys that’s been working behind the scenes, and you can see the progression even from the beginning of the season — how he understands the game, how well he’s shooting the ball, how well he’s confident in himself. ... He was able to show the fans and everybody what he can potentially do and what he can do right now.

During the interview, Simons also discussed if he could’ve benefited from a G League team in Portland during his early seasons, the experience of attending Remix games and his issues with the winter weather.

The sixth-year guard was one of just three non-rookies who suited up for Portland against Phoenix on Sunday, the others being second-year forward Jabari Walker and second-year two-way player Justin Minaya. Simons produced 28 points, five rebounds and five assists, while shooting 8-18 shooting from the field.