11 points on average at 24% success, including 29% at 3-pointers, to go with 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists on average. Even though it’s only preseason, Anfernee Simons’ first two games as Damian Lillard’s new backcourt partner in Portland haven’t been all that great. That’s the case to say…
“I think I’m just trying to figure out how to play alongside Dame”, explains the young “combo guard”. “It’s a different dynamic than last year because I was the main ball carrier in games. I just have to try to understand how to choose my spots well, to shoot. »
Learn to play without the ball again
Propelled leader of the team following the operation of Damian Lillard and the transfer of CJ McCollum to New Orleans, Anfernee Simons had thus displayed all his potential for two months, with 23.4 points at 46% of success, including 42% 3-pointers, and 5.8 assists in 27 games.
But, for his fifth season, he must relearn how to step back behind his “franchise player”.
“Obviously Dame will do what he knows how to do. So I’m just trying to figure out where I can fit in so I can play my part.” he continues, assuring that once he understands, his address will come back. “That’s probably the thing I have to figure out as the preseason games go on. »
For Chauncey Billups, there is no question of panicking in the face of the 6/25 cumulative from his rear in two games, including 4/14 from afar. The coach also prefers to point the finger at the positive, with in particular the defensive resistance displayed by Anfernee Simons, when he had nevertheless been clearly targeted by Kawhi Leonard in isolation.
More resistant in defense?
“He held on, he did a very good job”assures the coach. “Kawhi put his turn around the baseline, but in my opinion, Kawhi Leonard is going to put that shot no matter who defends on him. »
The defensive limits of the Lillard / McCollum duo having been a recurring problem in Portland, the defensive limits of the Lillard / Simons duo will necessarily be scrutinized closely. To allow the Blazers to bounce back quickly, it is therefore essential that the new starting back of the club holds the shock on this side of the field.
“I surprised myself, honestly”he laughs, on his defense against Kawhi Leonard. “We see Kawhi moving pivots. And I was able to take at least three shocks and pull through. I guess the weight room helped me. It’s something they can’t take away from me. I slowed down Kawhi a bit. »