PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Trail Blazers selected Anfernee Simons with the No. 24 pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Simons, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard, was the only player to work out for the Blazers twice before the draft.
The 19-year-old did not play in college last season. Instead, Simons played at IMG Academy in Florida last season after graduating from high school. He initially committed to play at Louisville but de-committed when the program was at the center of an FBI corruption scandal. He averaged 22.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and was a 45 percent three-point shooter at IMG Academy.
The 2018 NBA Draft Guide listed the following strengths for Simons heading into the draft:
“Bouncy athlete with deep shooting range. Three-level scorer with terrific ball-handling skills. Tough to contain off the dribble. Has good speed with the ball and a quick first step.”
Reactions to the pick by NBA experts ranged from "baffling" to "a turbocharged CJ McCollum." The consensus among experts is that Simons has a lot of potential but it will take time for him to develop, given his lack of collegiate experience.
In addition to Simons, the Blazers traded future second-round draft picks to the Sacramento Kings for former Duke guard Gary Trent Jr.
The Blazers finished 49-33 last season, the third-best regular season record in the Western Conference. But Portland was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans.