Evaluating Anfernee Simons
March 26, 2018
by Alan Lu
Recently, IMG Academy’s 6-3 combo guard, Anfernee Simons decided to declare to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, but he also decided to pull out of major showcases such as the Nike Hoops Summit and the Jordan Brand Classic, which kind of makes him a mystery prospect this year. After trying to scour game tapes online, I stumbled across one in which he played in a full game. With thanks to YouTube via DraftExpress, Simons played for Team Breakdown in the finals of an Under Armour Association game against Sports U in a July 12th, 2017 match. Here are my thoughts on how he fared on that day, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Anfernee Simons is a very athletic combo guard that will often look for his own shot, but he does have the potential to excel at running the point, as he handles the ball well, and he can make some good passes. Mostly, he is a shot maker that can score in a variety of ways, though he does seem to have a penchant for taking difficult shots that would be tougher for him to make at higher levels.
Simons is a good scorer off the dribble, as he can quickly get into the lane, and he can use ball-handling moves to create separation and get past his man. He showed a knack for scoring on floaters, and he also can draw numerous free throws after taking the ball strong to the hoop. He also is very fast, as he can get down the court quickly, and he managed to throw down an emphatic dunk on the break once to show his solid athletic abilities. Plus, he also has a good motor, as Simons was able to get to the foul line on a put back off of an offensive board.
Simons also is an adequate shooter that can knock down a variety of jumpers to space the floor for his team. He can knock down quick threes off the catch, and he has can get out to make them out in transition. Plus, he also was able to make a bank, pull-up three early on after dribbling to his left, as he also drew an extra free throw that time. Also, he showed a knack for making quick pull-up jumpers inside the arc, as he can quickly dribble to his spots to get his shots off. However, Simons had a tendency to hoist up contested jumpers and difficult pull-up threes from beyond the arc, and sometimes he would not always set his feet, as he may tend to force up rushed shots.
Simons drew plenty of free throws, and he did a very good job of making them. He seems to hang his shot a little low at times, as it may be a bit of a line drive type of shot, and he may need to get more arc when he shoots the ball, but his shooting mechanics may not need much tweaking if he can make free throws at a high rate. His playmaking skills looked to be fairly average. Simons looked to score early and often, so he seems to be much more of a natural scorer than facilitator, but he did seem like he could effectively run the point if he looked actively to involve his teammates more on offense.
His best assist was when he dribbled the ball quickly up the floor, and Simons used a spin move prior to throwing a nifty, no-look pass to a teammate out on the break to set up a score. Simons would sometimes look to find the open man, and he will also throw interior passes. He did a very good job of pushing the ball up the floor quickly off of defensive boards, and he will also move off the ball on offense. He did not turn the ball over often, but on one possession, he dribbled the ball off his foot when quickly handling it up the floor as he went too fast and played out of control that time.
Also, he showed off fairly good rebounding skills. Simons was able to get an offensive board off of a tap out late in the game, and he would frequently push the pace after leaping up to get defensive boards. But sometimes, he would not always get balls in area as he missed out on a couple of extra defensive rebounding opportunities, and there were a couple of balls that he could have had that went to the opposition.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. Simons was able to heap on a tipped ball that his teammate jarred loose from an opposing ball handler to help his team get a steal, and he also would quickly get around and fight through screens. Also, he was able to tightly contest a couple of threes to force some misses. Simons is a solid athlete that possesses good footwork as he can provide heavy ball pressure, and he has the physical tools to develop into a plus-level defender at the next level.
However, sometimes he would get beat off the dribble, which would cause his teammates to commit fouls on drives. Another time, he got beat off the dribble, and his team allowed a pass that led to a corner three score. On a separate play, Simons was screened, but he hesitated as he didn’t come out to defend the shot immediately, and it led his team to allow a quick three-point basket to an opponent. He will also have his hands down when defending entry passes on occasion, which can make it easier for low post players to receive the ball on offense. On another note, Simons is very durable. He did not come out of the game often, and he only came out of the game for a stretch in the third quarter.
In general, Anfernee Simons is a very talented combo guard that could be a potential first round pick in the upcoming draft. He is a score-first player that handles the ball well, and he could develop into a solid point guard if he can improve upon his decision making skills. With the right team, he could end up developing into an All-Star level talent, but if a team is not patient with him, he could also end up fizzling out of the league rather quickly.
He will need to improve his shot selection, playmaking skills, and position defense, but his shooting ability, combined with his athleticism and scoring skills could enable him to end up being a good player in the NBA, especially if the team that drafts him will need to be patient, and they will need to take the time to develop and hone his overall game.