Anfernee Simons Drafted by Trail Blazers; Twitter Lauds 'Gifted' Scoring Ability

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

IMG Post Grad National's Anfernee Simons #3 in action against Vermont Academy during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Sunday, January 14, 2018, in Springfield,MA. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Anfernee Simons got one step closer to fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA as the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft Thursday night.

Evan Daniels of 247Sports liked the move:

Simons took a unique path to the league. He decided to forgo his collegiate eligibility back in March in order to enter this year's draft. The 19-year-old was eligible to do so after spending his fifth year of high school at IMG Academy, earning him postgraduate—one year removed from high school graduation—status.

According to 247Sports, the Florida native was a 5-star player and the seventh overall recruit in the class of 2018. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked the guard as the No. 29 overall prospect following the combine.

The 6'3", 183-pound Simons has some filling out to do physically in order to survive the grind of an 82-game season‚ but the skill set is there.

Simons' game film, courtesy of IMG Academy, doesn't lie:

"He's got as good a chance as anyone," an NBA scout told Bleacher Report's Jason King in March. "Sometimes there's a little fatigue with scouting the college guys, and he's going to benefit from having been somewhat under the radar. Once NBA people get a close-up look at him, I think he's got a chance to really rise."

The Blazers will be able to give Simon time to develop. They have Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in their backcourt, which will lessen the need for Simon to contribute right away. 

Simons has made it to this point thanks to impressive athleticism and his ability to score. He may have some work to do in order to continue to craft his game at the next level, but Portland decided he was worth taking a chance on as he continues to grow as a player.

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