Earlier this season Henry Sims was wasting away on the bench of the Cleveland Cavaliers until Feb. 20 rolled around and he was shipped off to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Spencer Hawes trade. In the NBA sometimes all you need is an opportunity; and it looks like Sims got just that with this move.
Sims played 20 games for the Cavs (none as a starter) and had rather pedestrian numbers averaging only 8.4 minutes per game posting 2.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per. Not much opportunity when you are only getting roughly eight minutes a game.
Since the move to the Sixers Sims has played in 19 games (18 as a starter) and is posting very respectable numbers. He’s averaging 26.4 minutes played and posting 10.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. Sims has managed three double-doubles during his time with the Sixers (the only three of his career) and with six games left he could raise that tally as well. Sims’ field goal percentage could definitely use some work as he’s only shooting 45.4 percent since he got his big chance. As a center that number will definitely need to improve if he hopes to carve himself a niche in this league, but his free throw percentage is a plus at 77.1 percent with the Sixers.
Roughly 11 points and seven rebounds might not seem like much, but these players are auditioning for minutes next season when the Sixers hope to be much more competitive than they have been this year. Sims is proving his worth as a starter but really he hasn’t even been playing starter minutes at only 26.4 a night. The plus side to this is that next season if all goes as planned for Sam Hinkie & Co. Sims will certainly not be a starter at the center position.
Nerlens Noel will be fully recovered from his ACL injury that caused him to miss the entire 2013-14 season and he will be the incumbent starter. However, Sims has at least proven himself worthy of a backup center role with this club for the 2014-15 season. The Sixers won’t be contending next year even with their two lottery picks forthcoming, so Sims is in a decent spot to stick around being that he is only slated to make $915,243 (not fully guaranteed yet) next season — which is a dollar store bargain for a backup center.
Here’s some video of an impressive game from Henry against the defensive-minded Bulls on March 22, where he notched 18 points and 15 rebounds in the game.
Stories like these are the plus side of the “tanking” or “rebuilding” years a franchise might have, because had the Sixers not given away Spencer Hawes for pennies on the dollar Sims never would have had an opportunity like this — at least not this soon. There are plenty of capable NBA players just sitting on benches waiting for their shot — Sims was ready for his and he’s showing us all he can stick around in this league.
Henry Sims is still young (just turned 24 on March 27), and he stands a lengthy 6’10″ and weighs 245 pounds. He can bang down low and occasionally knock down a mid-range jumper. However, Sims is going to leave his mark with an endless motor, rebounding and solid defense — that’s how backup centers get paid in this league.
The Sixers beat the Boston Celtics Friday night 111-102 and Sims posted a career-high 24 points on 5-of-10 shooting and 14-for-18 free throws. As you can see from the 18 free throws, Sims was a beast in the paint Friday night and Celtics clearly had no answer for him. With the win the Sixers moved to 17-59 on the season; good enough for second-worst in the NBA behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although wins are like losses for this franchise right now, the players don’t want to hear any of that and they are giving the kind of effort first-year head coach Brett Brown can be proud of. Wins are at a premium in this league, but by design the Sixers have failed to nab a lot of them — nights like Friday night make you feel good for the players in that locker room.