The Portland Trail Blazers selected Anfernee Simons with the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
At only 19 years old, Simons passed up college for the NBA after a year at IMG Academy, and is therefore one of the greatest unknowns in the draft. Though unproven against high-level competition, Simons possesses intriguing measurables. He weighed in at 6'3", 183 pounds at the NBA Combine in May, and has added muscle to his frame since his high school days. Despite his height, his wingspan was measured at just over 6'9", and he had the eighth-fastest three-quarter sprint time and the fifth-highest max vertical leap of all combine participants.
Jeremy Woo's grade: C-
While Simons is certainly talented and is a worthwhile stash for the Trail Blazers, this pick comes as a surprise and perhaps an attempt to preserve roster flexibility given that Portland’s cap situation is so tight. He will be a long-term project and needs to spend time in the G League. Given that the Blazers have no G League affiliate, he will need to be sent to another team’s development program and be carefully placed into a situation that makes sense for him to gain seasoning. This could prove to be shrewd by the time Simons is 23, but also may wind up as an unnecessary risk given the others on the board.
SI.com's Jeremy Woo broke down Simons' strengths and weaknesses:
• High-end athlete. Extremely bouncy and quick off the floor. Explosive in transition. Capable of difficult finishes in the air and highlight dunks.
• Solid jump shooter. Gets good rotation, high release, more of a flick mechanism than a smooth shot.
• Quick feet and hands suggest he can become a plus defender down the line. Has a 6’7” wingspan.
• Lacks ideal size for a shooting guard, and isn’t a true point guard. More of a scorer at his core. Doesn’t have an ideal playmaking feel.
• Extremely thin and has a lot of physical maturation to do. Will require careful development. Still learning how to play and figuring out what his role should be.
• Defensive effort comes and goes.