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#24 – Anfernee Simons – Portland Trail Blazers

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With the no. 24 pick in the NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers selected shooting guard Anfernee Simons from IMG Academy High School.

Simons measures in at 6-foot-3, weighing 183 pounds. Simmons is one of the bouncier athletes in this draft. When he beats his man, which happens much more often than not, Simmons can make some highlight reel dunks, which makes his potential as a player all the more intriguing.

Simons’ handle and agility should make him a reliable scoring spark off the bench should his athleticism translate to the NBA. His athleticism and crafty footwork could make him a tough force to stop if he earns minutes in Portland’s rotation. If Simons shows that he can play well on the NBA level, then the team won’t have to worry much about losing Shabazz Napier if he travels elsewhere this summer.

Better yet, Simons’ athleticism should make Portland optimistic about his potential defensively. He will need to show consistent effort and he will need to fill out more to get an NBA-caliber frame, but his natural athleticism could very well improve Portland’s already improved defense from this season.

Simons has the ability to become quite the electrifying player, but in order for him to become one, he has to perfect his craft as a scorer. Simons’ driving ability is already pretty solid, but he needs to improve his ability to shoot off the dribble. Since Portland has two of the league’s purest scorers in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Simons will have some solid mentors to learn from.

With his youth, Simons should not expect a big role right away with the Blazers. Since the team is focusing on the now, the pressure won’t be on Simons to develop, but if he does, then Portland has a steal on their hands.

Matt John is a staff writer for Basketball Insiders. He is currently a Utah resident, but a Massachusetts native.

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