Trail Blazers

Why NBA analyst thinks Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is an attractive trade chip

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best guard tandems in the NBA with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Their bench isn't too shabby either.

With Gary Trent serving as the primary backup, the Blazers have been in good hands when either Lillard or McCollum has been absent. Beyond Trent, Anfernee Simons has been a strong scorer off the bench.

And some believe that his future is very bright.

Just 21 years old, Simons is averaging 8.0 points per game this year and is shooting 40.9 percent on 3-pointers this year. That has all come in just 16.6 minutes of action per game. In a bigger role, the lanky athlete and 2021 Slam Dunk contest champion could be an even better producer.

That's why ESPN's Mike Schmitz thinks that Simons could thrive in a new role that allows him more playing time. Here's Schmitz's explanation for why.

"Wired to score right now, Simons could thrive alongside a big playmaker with the potential to be groomed into more of a lead guard as his game matures," Schmitz wrote. "He lives off a lot of tough shots and can also stand to improve as a finisher, and he currently ranks dead last among guards in defensive real plus-minus.

But if Simons can go to a team that can afford to play him 20 to 25 minutes a night while letting him learn the nuances of the point guard position on the fly, he has a chance to be more than just a bench bucket-getter in the future.

Mike Schmitz, ESPN

So, Simons has some improving to do, but he has flashed potential. That should give him a chance to develop into a quality starter eventually.

Why is this important for the Trail Blazers? Well, they're reportedly being "very active" ahead of this year's trade deadline. If they think that they could land a big fish like Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, or Norman Powell but need one more asset to push their offer over the edge, they could consider moving Simons.

 

It would be a win-now move and would carry some risk, but if the team thinks they can get to title-contender status by making a move, perhaps they'd be willing to part with the fourth guard in their rotation, especially if they're replacing him with a more polished option like Oladipo or Powell.

The Blazers probably want to keep Simons because of his enormous upside. But as the trade deadline draws nearer, it's becoming clear that Portland has the ammunition and assets needed to make a deal if they want to (and are able to) find a piece that takes them to the next level.