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Anfernee Simons – 6’3″, Combo Guard, IMG Academy, 19 years old
With the advent of the one-and-done rule in the NBA, very rarely have players been selected without first spending time in college. Anfernee Simons is the latest prospect to circumvent the rule via an extra year at prep school.
Will the decision to stay in the 2018 NBA Draft pay off for Simons, or should he have improved his stock in college?
Unfortunately, full stats for Simons both in high school games and on the prep circuit are not available. He also chose not to scrimmage at the 2018 NBA Combine, opting to maintain the mysterious allure surrounding his draft stock.
Simons showed off explosive athleticism at the high school level, throwing down explosive dunks with regularity. He recorded a 41.5″ max vertical at the combine this year, the second-highest mark of any player.
As a scorer, Simons shows comfort at all three levels and can get his own shot. His ball-handling is advanced for his age and he can create space off the bounce against defenders.
Simons knocked down threes at a high rate, both spotting up and off the dribble. He also uses a nice teardrop floater with touch in the lane to get shots over defenders.
He projects as a combo guard who focuses on scoring first and foremost.
On defense, Simons has a 6’9″ wingspan and could easily develop into an above average defender at the guard spot.
At the next level, Simons has to work on his point guard skills. Far too often, he relied on his own offensive game and struggled to make plays for others.
Simons turned the ball over a bit too much, oftentimes relying on his handle and putting himself in bad situations. He takes poor shots that are not in the flow of the offense.
At this stage, Simons does not have an NBA-ready body. He has to strengthen his body to prepare himself for the rigors of the league.
NBA Player Comparison
Every team improves with added scoring, and a combo guard with a high ceiling is valuable in the draft.
Teams know that Simons is not a finished product at this moment. Most of his minutes in the 2018-19 season will come in the G-League.
If teams are rebuilding and willing to wait for Simons to develop, he might blossom into a major contributor somewhere. A team like the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, or Memphis Grizzlies could try for a home run with Simons.
The Hawks own four picks in the top-34 (No. 3, 19, 30, and 34) and could draft Simons with either of the last two picks they own and develop him in their ongoing rebuild.
The Nets finally retain their own first-round pick in the 2019 draft after their catastrophic 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics.
With the 29th pick in the 2018 draft, courtesy of the Toronto Raptors, the Nets could pick Simons with the assurance that he will not be good enough to mess up their 2019 pick and hope that he reaches his full potential in the long run.
The Grizzlies have pick No. 32 in the draft, and Simons (along with pick No. 4) would help Memphis obtain young talent to push through the rebuild. If Simons stays up with the big club, there is no better professional he could learn from than Mike Conley.
Various mock drafts project Simons to go anywhere in the 20-40 range, though it’s hard to see anyone picking him until the very end of the first round with the current draft order.
Keep an eye out for Anfernee Simons’ progression over the next few seasons.