Future Watch: Anfernee Simons Rookie Basketball Cards, Trail Blazers – Anfernee Simons was born in 1999 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. He attended Edgewater High School in Orlando. In his sophomore season, he averaged 17.8 points, 4.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds and one steal per game. Simons would transfer to Montverde Academy for his junior season but would elect to transfer back to Edgewater in search of a bigger role. This move would affect his college eligibility, pushing him back a year.
In his senior season at Edgewater, Simons averaged 23.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Due do his reclassified eligibility, he would attend IMG Academy in Brandenton for a postgraduate year. In the summer of 2017, he played for the United States men’s national U19 team. Simons initially had plans to play college ball for Louisville, South Carolina, NC State, Tennessee and Florida. He would eventually elect to bypass college and enter the 2018 draft without hiring an agent.
ESPN ranked Simons as the 19th best prospect in the 2018 class. He impressed scouts at the NBA combine with his jump shot, wingspan and athletic ability. Even though he chose to skip development at the collegiate level, many teams were impressed by his maturity and leadership skills. On draft night, Simons was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland hit a home run with this pick. In draft lacking depth, they acquired a skilled 19-year-old combo guard with incredible upside. With the pick, Simons became the third high school player since 2015 to be drafted. He would log minutes during the pre-season and was eventually sent to the Agua Caliente Clippers in the NBA G-League. Portland is one of the few remaining teams to not have a dedicated G-League affiliate.
Simons drew his first career start in the final game of the regular season. With star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum sitting, Simons ran the show. He played 48 minutes and scored 37 points on 13-of-21 shots from the floor. He went 7-for-11 from behind the arc, grabbed six boards and dished out nine assists in a 136-131 win over the Sacramento Kings.
The Trail Blazers are in a very interesting spot moving forward. Currently up 3-1 in their first-round matchup with Oklahoma City, they’re eyeing a second-round matchup with the winner of the San Antonio/Denver series. The Blazers have great depth, but so far Simons hasn’t cracked the playoff rotation. It will take a significant injury to Portland’s bench for Simons to see consistent minutes in the playoffs. That isn’t the end of the world. Sitting on a bench in the playoffs and learning from veterans is valuable. Looking forward, the team will be different next season and there’s a good chance Simons has a larger role. His rookie cards are at a great price right now and are worth adding to your collection. They have plenty of room to increase in value.
Follow him on Twitter @AnferneeSimons.
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