The Portland Trail Blazers have selected Anfernee Simons in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 24 overall pick.
Since the fifth-year postgraduate student was eligible for the NBA draft, Simons passed on college offers to declare right away. Scouts were able to see him at select games and events during the season, but he's still one of this year's wild cards since teams never saw him compete at the NCAA level.
An explosive shooting guard, Simons will need time to develop, but there is no denying the upside tied to his athleticism and scoring.
Size: 6'3 ¼"
Weight: 183.2 pounds
Wingspan: 6'9 ¼"
Reach: 8'3 ½"
Pro-player comparison: Monta Ellis
Simons lacks 2-guard size, but he compensates with quickness, bounce and long arms. He's skilled off the dribble and is capable of scoring from all three levels with hard drives, mid-range runners and pull-up jumpers out to the arc. Simons isn't a sniper, but he is a threat to catch fire and knock down shots off the dribble, catch or screens. He has the chance to be an exciting weapon initiating the break in transition. Though he's more of a secondary playmaker, Simons can still lose defenders and set up teammates.
Simons needs to work on his floor game and facilitating. He isn't strong enough to consistently score against NBA 2-guards. He'd greatly benefit from developing into more of a combo guard who can rack up assists as well as score. Simons can be erratic with his shooting and shot selection, and he is likely to struggle finishing among the trees around the basket early on.
Simons will likely struggle defending NBA guards in his first few years, mostly due to his underdeveloped frame and limited experience. Long term, he has potential stemming from his quickness and length. He'll likely have more success defending point guards. He should be able to average at least a steal per game once he works his way into a regular role.
It would be surprising if Simons has a big role next season. His body doesn't appear ready for the game he prefers to play. The G League makes the most sense for him next year. He'll get the chance to play big minutes, strengthen his upper body, work on creating for others and sharpen his jump shot.
Projected role: Sixth man/microwave scorer
Simons will always be valued for his scoring punch first. His ceiling looks similar to microwaves like Ellis or Lou Williams—undersized shooting guards who could still put points up in a hurry. Depending on his efficiency, his game may wind up being best suited for a sixth-man role, although he does possess starter talent and upside.