Blazers news: Neil Olshey says Anfernee Simons is 'as gifted as anyone I've ever drafted'
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Blazers’ Neil Olshey says Anfernee Simons is ‘as gifted as anyone I’ve ever drafted’

Neil Olshey, Anfernee Simons

Last year, the Portland Trail Blazers drafted guard Anfernee Simons with the 24th overall pick, but Simons did not see much action during his rookie campaign, appearing in just 20 games.

However, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has very high hopes for Simons going forward:

“It’s kind of all coming together for him,” said Olshey, via The Oregonian. “He’s as talented as anyone we’ve ever drafted since I’ve been here, in terms of just natural gifts. He’s not the player [Damian Lillard] and [C.J. McCollum] were, but in terms of just natural, God-given, basketball ability, Anfernee is as gifted as anybody I’ve ever drafted. So we’re expecting big things from him.”

During the time Simons was on the floor this past season, he averaged 3.8 points over 7.1 minutes per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, 34.5 percent from three-point range and 56.3 percent from the free-throw line.

The 20-year-old has certainly had an interesting journey to the NBA.

He originally committed to play collegiate basketball at the University of Louisville, but as a result of the scandal which resulted in the dismissal of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Simons de-committed. Simons went on to receive interest from numerous schools, but he ultimately opted to bypass college for the NBA.

So, because Anfernee Simons did not play basketball on the NCAA level, he may be a step behind most other players selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, but it sounds like Olshey has big plans for Simons in the future.

The Blazers made it to the Western Conference Finals this season for the first time since 2000.