Trail Blazers

Anfernee Simons will be a sponge, ready to absorb all things defense

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is about to enter his third year in the league.

This is a year that has been huge for young players in Terry Stotts’ system in Portland in recent years.

Just think about the success of Pat Connaughton or Jake Layman in their third years in the league.

Simons is eager to take that same leap.

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And to do so, he is focusing on the defensive side of the ball.

It’s no secret that Simons has elite athleticism and can get a bucket when called upon. But his inconsistent defense and lack of aggressiveness has hampered the 20-year-old’s young career.

Simons knows that.

 

He saw firsthand how his teammate Gary Trent Jr., who was also drafted by the Blazers in 2018, elevated his game last season on the defensive end.

The combo guard has a lot to learn from Trent Jr. 

How aggressive he is on the ball on defense. That’s something that I didn’t really do last year that I should have. I was more of a conservative, try to not foul and I ended up getting a lot of fouls anyways. I think being aggressive on the ball and being an aggressive defender helped him out a lot because the refs knew that he was aggressive so they wouldn’t call as many fouls as much.

Anfernee Simons on learning from Gary Trent Jr. 

Simons averaged 1.9 fouls per game in 20.7 minutes played per contest last season. He was also called for several ticky tack fouls throughout the season. 

With new additions Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. and Harry Giles, Simons is looking forward to learning their defensive ways.

Covington could just be the defensive mentor Simons needs.

I’m excited to learn from them. Especially [from] Cov on the defensive end -- learning how he was able to become this elite defender, all the tricks and trades of being a defender. I’m looking forward to learning from everybody.

Anfernee Simons

“Obviously, we got a lot more guys that can defend on the wing,” Simons added. “Obviously we got Harry Giles that is very athletic and a young guy that can move up and down the floor, pass well.”

A more aggressive defender and disruptor on that end of the court mixed in with Simons’ continued athletic dunks could make way for a very entertaining and successful third year in the league for Anfernee Simons.