One of the benefits of the Sixers being out of contention since basically the start of the season, is the opportunity it has provided the organization to try out talent.
With no dependable depth, or pressure to win right away, the franchise has focused on the future and basically used their roster as a giant rotating door for players looking to land in the league.
Some players have panned out through the process; Tony Wroten has shown a real motor, especially on the offensive end, and Hollis Thompson with his sweet stroke, could be a keeper.
Other players haven’t worked out as well.
After countless trips up and down I-95, the team decided Lorenzo Brown wasn’t a fit for the franchise. Dewayne Dedmon departed, and James Nunally was recently released.
Not every player has stuck with the Sixers after their stint, but it is safe to assume that they are all appreciative of the opportunity to show their stuff on the world’s biggest basketball stage.
One player that was added through this rotating roster process however, and that might be worth long-term consideration for the 7-6, is Georgetown product Henry Sims.
Sims came to Philadelphia from Cleveland as a throw-in in the Spencer Hawes trade, after averaging only eight minutes a game for the Cavaliers. Considering his limited court time in Cleveland, no one quite knew what to expect of Sims as a Sixer.
The Sixers’ dearth of depth has allowed for more playing time for Sims, and in his short stint with the squad so far, he has made the most out of an opportunity.
The 6’10’’ center has been solid, and at times even impressive, and has certainly warranted conversation about bringing him back for the future.
In 22 games with the Sixers, Sims has averaged 11.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and nearly 2 assists in 27 minutes of action, while displaying some valuable versatility to his game.
Sims’ sheer size is one thing he has going for him. Sims is a long 6’10’’, and despite having the appearance of a skinny, slender individual, he has a bit of bulk to him, and he isn’t afraid to bang. He played well against Roy Hibbert in both of the team’s meetings since deadline day, and has shown that he has enough size and physicality to bother the league’s better bigs. He is averaging only half a block a game, but his presence in the paint alone serves as protection. There have been several occasions recently in which the lead guard, usually Carter-Williams or Wroten, has been beat to the paint by penetration, but the play didn’t end in an easy lay-up because Sims was there to alter the outcome.
Along with being a protecting presence, Sims is also a solid rebounder. His 7.1 boards per game since he signed with the Sixers would be a top-50 average in the league for the season, and is higher than the per-game rebound average of guys like Marc Gasol, Taj Gibson, David West, Chris Bosh, and Kevin Garnett. Sims has also put up a respectable rebound rate of 15.2; better than that of Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, and Paul Millsap. Sims still has a lot of room for improvement in regards to rebounding, as he is only converting slightly over half of his rebounding chances (via NBA.com/stats), but he has already shown the ability to be an above-average rebounder.
The offense end is one area where there was some concern about Sims after he signed with the Sixers. He had only averaged two points per with Cleveland, he didn’t boast elite athleticism, and he didn’t appear the most fundamental finisher; an important aspect for a big.
While he certainly hasn’t turned into the team’s top offensive option, the development of his offense has been one of the most pleasantly surprising, and promising angles of Sims since he signed.
Sims has scored in double figures in 14 out of his 22 games with the Sixers, including in the past four straight games. Sprinkled in there are three 20-plus-point performances, highlighted by a career-high 24 points and 9 rebounds in a win against Boston.
Sims has scored with his back to the basket, off of oops, basket-cuts, and the offensive glass. He has even faced up and knocked down some shots as of late, and added a turnaround hook. His work with Sixers Development Coach Greg Foster has been beneficial, as Sims is quickly developing a decent offensive repertoire. Foster spent 13 seasons in the NBA; a career which included three trips to the Finals, and he has a thing or two to teach young post players.
Another thing to consider: Sims has been starting for the Sixers, so a lot of his production has come against the opposing’s teams starting center, which makes his production even more impressive. Sims is probably better suited as a back-up big, averaging about 20-25 minutes an evening, providing post production for the second unit, while being a fine fill-in for the starting set. You would think that he would be able to do more damage against the opponent’s second squad. If he can continue to develop his game on the offensive end, he could really provide the Sixers with some dependable depth down the road.
Sims is not signed for next season, but his play and production since he became a Sixer suggest that he should be. He will continue to benefit from working with Foster, and an entire offseason together could work wonders for the 24-year old center, who seems to have just started scratching the surface of his potential since signing with the Sixers.