After three years in the league, Trail Blazers guard Anferee Simons has seen inconsistent minutes this season.
But when given the opportunity Friday night in San Antonio, Simons showed off his new aggressive mindset.
The 21-year-old’s athleticism and shot-making ability was on full display in the Trail Blazers' 107-106 victory over the Spurs.
But it wasn’t just his offense that his coach and teammates were talking about after the win.
With Damian Lillard sitting out due to right hamstring tendinopathy, it was CJ McCollum to the rescue.
He notched 29 points and six assists.
But just as Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned postgame, Portland’s bench stepped up in a big way.
With the bench’s aggressive play, Portland outscored San Antonio, 35-28, in the third quarter.
Whether it was Carmelo Anthony or Simons, Portland’s bench was effective from the perimeter.
Simons finished with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three in 30 minutes of action.
But he also had two steals and one block.
And it was Simons’ energy on the defensive end that had his coach smiling.
The Simons block on Derrick White's floater was yet another spark Simons provided.
Or as Norman Powell puts it, Simons brought the juice.
And the Blazers needed every bit of it.
Playing hard and continuing to get better as well as staying ready, is what Simons contributes to his performance Friday night.
Simons also mentioned that he’s not just settling for a three.
“If the lane opens up a lot of people probably see that I shoot a lot of threes, so if they want to run me off the line, that’s a clear lane for me and that’s what I want,” Simons explained, “I was able to get downhill a couple of times and try to get to the rim.”
Powell, who was the second leading scorer behind CJ McCollum with 22 points in Friday’s win, was impressed with Simons’ aggressive play overall.
“For a player that’s early in his career to come in and play like that, I think it’s a big confidence booster for him.”
Powell also gave credit where credit was due.
“I think Dame and CJ have done a great job with him during his summer workouts. I think he has great potential in this league.”
Simons could continue to show his potential while earning big minutes with Lillard day-to-day because of his hamstring injury.
Next up for the Blazers, they will visit the Charlotte Hornets Sunday.