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Why the Trail Blazers Should Not Trade Anfernee Simons

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Last week I wrote a column highlighting that need. portland trailblazers Trade Yusuf Nurkic. Curiously, this work Anphanie Simmons in action than a big Bosnian.

It was fascinating to read all the emotional and articulate comments. Unfortunately, none of it was enough to change my mind.

My stance was reinforced this week when Sean Hykin of The Rose Garden Report said: Teams May See Upgrades at Center as its priority.

Over the past few days I’ve been commenting and thinking about why some people are working under a misconception by overlooking three key points about the 23-year-old.

  • The Blazers’ front office isn’t necessarily built for this season. We have the big picture.
  • Anfernee Simons is not CJ McCollum.
  • Anfernie Simmons, 23, has played less than 30 games since starting alongside Damian Lillard.

We touch on each of these points and why Simmons needs to stay where he is for the time being.

long term building

The partial demolition of the Portland roster last February introduced a new timeline. Critical to this debate was how Norman Powell and CJ McCallum “Make a runway” for Simmons to reach his potential.

The Blazers, in consultation with Damian Lillard (see below), will properly reorganize this team, undo the questionable moves made by the previous front office, and use their newfound assets and flexibility. It took a long time.

It was clear to most people that Portland had little way to stand in contention until 2022-23. There were trading exceptions to use, assets to develop, other stars to disillusion, draft picks to come to fruition. Shaden Sharp, Jabari Walker, Keon Johnson, Greg Brown III and Trendon Watford all needed time to grow.

As of January 7, 2023, Blazers is not a finished product. Far from it. This is despite the fact that Lillard is 32 years old and his number of prime games is dwindling by the day.

Yes, the Blazers live in two timelines. But from 2022 he thinks 2023 is going bankrupt should curb his need for immediate gratification, if only for his own sanity.

Cronin admitted hole in this teamHe is well aware of his lack of height behind Jussuf Nurkic and has no clear answer in starting small forward. I believe it was not due to negligence and not due to lack of effort.

One of the many things that became increasingly frustrating in life under Neil Olshey was the annual roster build, using cheap parts that didn’t fit. It was a flawed strategy that held back the team’s progress.

But let’s really see what Cronin told Danny Mullan and Brandon Sprague On Jacked Ramsay’s Podcast in October.

“You know, we’re trying to build. This isn’t a roster you can win right now unless you’ve shoved all your chips in yet. It’s not like we were signing players based on position more than talent. Basically throughout this process, we’ve been choosing talent over need.”

“We knew we had some position redundancies and some position holes. Also, we haven’t pushed all the chips, and we haven’t made any big moves yet, like using future draft funds.”

“And this entails a lot of discussion with Damian about trust in the direction we’re headed and trust in what Chauncey and I are telling him.”

Yes, he signed Nurkic to a big deal last season – perhaps more than he deserves. But to me, the rationale for this was to target the “tip-push” player they wanted when he was available, then help with a matching salary.

Anphanie Simmons is not CJ McCallum

Many comments suggested that Simmons was a carbon copy of CJ McCollum, resulting in the same result when paired with Lillard.

It’s easy to see Simmons as just a McCallum-like security guard, but it’s not entirely accurate. Before pairing as players, Simons’ contract ($22,321,429 this season) is considerably smaller than his McCollum’s contract ($33,333,333 this season). This alone will allow the team to improve their roster in a way his CJ never could.

defense

Defense is an obvious concern in Simmons’ game.

Let’s start with physical attributes. Wikipedia lists Simmons as his 6’3. He’s not, he openly says he doesn’t know how tall he is right now.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAYSports

Not convinced? Let’s see him next to 6’5 Josh Hart.

Indiana Pacers v Portland Trail Blazers

Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Another one next to 6’3 McCollum. And this person is a bit older and may have skyrocketed in the last few months. He also has an extra inch on McCallum when it comes to wingspan.

Portland Trail Blazers v Philadelphia 76ers

Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Athletic, Ant and CJ are in completely different ballparks. McCollum rarely successfully dunks. Simmons is a slam dunk champion, aided by a vertical jump of 41.5 inches. McCallum he was 38.5 inches.

Simmons has the physical attributes to be a decent defender. The 23-year-old needs at least a year or two more to get to where he is at starter level.

Just to point out what caught my eye against the Detroit Pistons last week. The Pistons are far from being an offensive juggernaut, but Simons remained behind, stopping 6-foot-7-inch, 226-pound experienced veteran Bojan Bogdanovic from reaching the rim and making defensive play that changed shots. had. Of course, Simons has to do this regularly, but he has the ability.

Yes, Simmons is clearly not a great defender at this point. But he showed a glimpse of ability and length that McCallum never could.He is 23, a year older than McCallum was when he joined the league, but a year younger. than when McCollum began playing starter-level play in 2015-16.

offense

Obviously, we’re dealing with a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy, so this isn’t an exact science, but…

Simmons is not a ball-stopper like McCollum. I don’t hold a grudge against McCallum for this. it’s been working for a long time. However, during his tenure at Portland, the ball rarely left CJ’s hands unless he was taking a shot. Simmons is an aggressive passer. If you don’t believe me, hear from Lillard himself in the media He’s Day.

With me and CJ, you get a lot of points. CJ, he will steal the ball. He handles the ball well.

He[Simmons]was so young and watched every game in his first few years in the league that I think he adopted that mentality as an NBA player. I think it’s going to be like two things because of who he is, he’s my Luke and he’s growing as my teammate. I’m in He could get a spot and score really good, but Ant would make a decent play. Forgive me for being on the ball sometimes and he being on the ball sometimes. More movement, more action, more balls flying around, so I think that makes a difference. ”

This is probably also a factor in the team’s high turnover rate early this season. But if they can work out these kinks, the team looks noticeably better.

Despite McCollum sharing the court with Zion Williamson and briefly with Brandon Ingram, he still gets about 18 shots a game — the same as Simmons. However, the young guard is ahead of McCallum’s 20.0 points by his 22.2 points.

Simmons shoots 3 more. In 36 games, the 23-year-old made 44% out of his two, or 8.0 attempts, of which he made 51%. Across the arc, he’s attempting his 56 percent or his 10.1 shots. This is pretty impressive considering that despite having a relatively mediocre night so far, he’s still hitting 38 percent of his shots.

The majority of McCallum’s shots this season have come from within the arc on 60% or 10.7 attempts, with 44% being drops. From the distance, out of his 40 percent, or 7.2 attempts, McCollum has scored a decent 39 percent.

But despite McCallum’s penchant for 2-pointers, Simons still gets closer to the rim, scoring 3.0 shots within 3 feet compared to McCallum’s 2.5.

Simmons’ more versatile bag of athletic tricks poses tricky problems for enemy defense. These great physical prowess allow his body to flex and twist into a wider range of positions, especially as his attempts at the rim increase.

Simmons and Lillard need time

Like my first point, fans should slow down and don’t expect instant gratification. The recent loss has been incredibly frustrating, but I’m not too worried about this team this season.

If they make the playoffs, great. But I’m hoping the Blazers use the assets they currently have to build and remain flexible in hopes of building a team that has a real chance in the playoffs.

Simmons and Lillard have started less than 30 games together. Some might say, “So they’ve been his teammates for over four years,” but I think this team looks a lot different than it did in previous seasons. The starting backcourt should be given time to bite just like its predecessor.

Yes, Lillard is 32 years old, but the team has been more conservative with his workload while keeping him in shape. Dame has played a career-low 35.4 minutes per game. He missed 12 games due to his two relatively minor injuries to his calves, and the team reportedly sat him down a bit longer than before.

why? He’s making his $63 million four years from now, and they want him to stay on the court, so he and Simmons can get the most out of each other for as long as possible. can.

Again, Simons is 23, a year younger than McCallum when he started next to Lillard. Pairs need time to adapt and get used to each other’s rhythms. Now if he still has problems after 12 months, he can start worrying.

Conclusion

This team moved CJ McCallum and Norman Powell to make way for Anfernie Simmons. Why, oh why, with all the potential he brings to the table, move him three months into his first season as a starter?

28-year-old Yusuf Nurkic has been in Portland for six years, and while he has had many highs, he has also had many frustrations. Simmons is only scratching the surface of his talent in both basketball and sports. But he also needs time with Lillard, he needs time for Cronin to improve this roster, he needs time to continue to prove he’s not just CJ McCollum. am.

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