Young up-and-coming star Afernee Simons has been under Damian Lillard’s tutelage for the last five NBA seasons since he was the 24th overall pick by the Blazers in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Obviously, Simons has heard all the rumors about Dame and knows he may be losing him, but stressed he doesn’t know anymore than the general public about what is happening behind closed doors.
“I mean, like I always said, I never get myself involved in anything other than involving me directly so whatever is being said in the media is what I’m learning too,” Simons told Aaron J. Fentress. “So, like…A lot of people ask me that question all the time, obviously, like what’s going on with Dame. I say, ‘They say he asked for a trade, he asked for a trade.’ That was it. Obviously, me and Dame have a close relationship. I’m always going to support him no matter what he tries to do. It’s always going to be family concept with us.”
He also reflected on everything that Lillard has taught him but says he will pass it onto the next crop of NBA rookies.
“I was hoping to ask for signed jersey when he retired from Portland but I mean, if he ends up somewhere else I’m going to have to ask for it before..he taught me so much about the game, being professional, how to workout, how to carry yourself in this type of environment, how to handle success. He’s taught me a lot of things that have set me up in my career.
“So obviously, those lessons will be missed and hopefully, I’ll obviously carry what he’s taught to me onto the other young players as well…”
One of those young players is the Portland’s number two overall pick in this year’s draft, Scoot Henderson.
24-year-old Simons had a lot of positive things to say about Scoot.
“He’s as good as advertised,” Simons said at his camp in Beaverton. “Understands the game at a high level, especially at his age. I’m pretty excited to play with him.”
Simons was the Blazers’ second best scorer behind Lillard last season so if Lillard does leave, Simons will be teaching Henderson the ropes.
He also may have to share the ball with the talented young guard.