Anfernee Simons’ Breakout Could Cause Major Changes For Blazers

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Portland Trail Blazers came into the 2021-22 NBA season with the expectation of making some noise in the Western Conference. They fired head coach Terry Stotts in the NBA offseason because of the lack of postseason success, bringing in Chauncey Billups in his place.

There was hope that Billups would be able to get more out of this roster, especially defensively, which would lead to more success in the postseason. That has not been the case, as Portland has continued to struggle defensively and has had a losing record for a majority of the season.

With superstar point guard Damian Lillard being shut down for at least six weeks following abdominal surgery, many presumed Portland would be sellers at the NBA trade deadline. Without Lillard in the lineup, they aren’t nearly as dangerous of a team. However, the recent emergence of Anfernee Simons may have altered their plans, again.

Simons has been excellent since the New Year. In seven games in 2022, Simons has averaged 26.1 points, making 50 percent of his shot attempts and 42.7 percent of his 3-pointers. He is handing out eight assists and grabbing 2.7 rebounds in 37.3 minutes per game as well.

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With his performance and C.J. McCollum returning to the lineup from his collapsed lung, things are looking up in Portland for virtually the first time this season. Matt Moore of The Action Network shared an update on the Trail Blazers and sounds like they will be looking to make moves ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

The Portland Trail Blazers have managed to get a little momentum behind Anfernee Simons’ offensive explosion the last few weeks. With CJ McCollum thankfully okay after a collapsed lung, there’s still confidence around the league that Portland will look to reshape the roster and Simons’ advancement only serves to increase that speculation.

With expiring contracts in Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington and desirable players in Larry Nance Jr. and Norman Powell, the Trail Blazers could have made some moves intending to retool for the 2022-23 season. But, they may look to improve the roster now and make a run at the postseason.

Portland is currently 18-25 on the season and is holding onto the 10th spot in the Western Conference. That is the final spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament, but they are only 4.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets, who are in sixth place, the final spot outside of the play-in tournament.

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If the Trail Blazers can remain afloat without Lillard in the lineup, they could push for a playoff spot. In a win or go home scenario, Portland is not a team anyone would want to face with a healthy Lillard, McCollum and emerging Simons bursting onto the scene.