Die hard Spurs fans have had the pleasure of watching sophomore guard Jonathon Simmons grow into an astounding young athlete. The 27-year-old had the opportunity to prove his skills during the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge and he did not disappoint.
During the first All-Star event of his career, Simmons totaled 19 points and four rebounds in his 21 minutes off the bench. He also recorded one of his signature chase-down blocks on a layup attempt by Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield.
Bringing defense to All Star Weekend, one Spur at a time. pic.twitter.com/RJF9GITQ8s
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) February 18, 2017
‘Juice’ Simmons was on the receiving end of the NBA’s assist of the night as he slammed down a reverse alley-oop jam from Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon. This was just one of his four dunks in the first half.
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2017
Despite the excellent output by Simmons, the U.S. Team fell short to the World Team 150-141. Denver rookie Jamal Murray led all scorers with 36 and earned Rising Stars MVP award.
Simmons has been an excellent spark plug off the bench for San Antonio this year. In 18 minutes per game, ‘Juice’ averages 6.4 points and 2.3 rebounds.
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His defensive capabilities and well-rounded play style have been critical for the Spurs in matchups with top-tier teams.
The undrafted guard set the tone for his year in the first game of the regular season. Simmons scored 20 points in 28 minutes against Golden State. The Spurs routed the Warriors 129-100 at the electrifying Oracle Arena .
His performances this year have been a true testament to his willpower and passion for the game, but it hasn’t come easily. Before building a name for himself, Simmons famously paid to tryout for the Spurs’ D-League affiliate Austin Toros in 2013. He eventually led the Spurs to the Summer League Championship in 2015 and earned the honor of Championship Game MVP.
Simmons was reportedly invited to participate in the 2017 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, but declined the offer. While he has proven himself as an outstanding athlete above the rim, the dunk contest setting just isn’t his style.
Jon Simmons, giving one reason he'll likely never be in a dunk contest: "I’m just a straight game dunker. I just want to dunk on people.”
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) February 15, 2017
The next Spur to compete in All-Star festivities will be western conference starter Kawhi Leonard on Sunday night. Once the break is completed, ‘Juice’ and the Spurs will continue their push towards the franchise’s sixth championship.