The 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers have been a trial season in many ways. The roster seems to change weekly and even the team picture that was taken last week is outdated. There are players getting opportunities to earn NBA minutes, playing against NBA competition, night in and night out. While the national media is obsessed with the Sixers and their “tanking”, these outlets fail to realize how important it is to give players opportunities from the NBA Development League or players stuck on the bench on another team. Two names come to mind when I think of this concept with the Sixers — Tony Wroten and Henry Sims.
Sims came over as a part of the Spencer Hawes trade with Cleveland, which also netted two second-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. When the trade went down, everyone assumed Henry Sims was a throw in to make the deal work — hell, I didn’t even know who Henry Sims was. Regardless of who he was, there was no doubt that a 6-foot-10, 250 lb mammoth was going to play extensive minutes on a team lacking a true center. Before coming to the Sixers, Sims had only scored 48 NBA points in his first two seasons. He’s already scored over 200 with the Sixers.
In 21 games with the Sixers, Sims is averaging 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds (3.4 ORB) in 26.8 minutes per game. Sim’s per-36 numbers show statistics of 15.2 points and 9.5 rebounds which highlight the growth that is yet to come from the Georgetown alumni. Sims is also shooting 54 percent this season from shots 0-3 feet away from the basket. Converting over 50 percent of his shots in the paint is key to being a successful big man in the NBA. Plus, Sims just keeps improving every time he steps onto the court.
On Friday night against Boston, Sims posted a game-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Sims was 5-of-10 from the field and an amazing 14-of-18 from the free-throw line. Saturday against the Nets, Sims was at it again scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Henry Sims has proved his worth as a key big man for the Sixers.
Henry Sims should stick around with Philly. Having a big man that can come on the floor and immediately get to work is hard to find. Sims doesn’t have the best jumper or finely tuned mechanics, but he will hustle his ass off — a quality that is rare in the NBA today. Sims will do the dirty work in the paint and turn some of that garbage into gold, as Marc Zumoff would say.
In a season that’s had few bright spots, Henry Sims is sticking out and shining bright. There’s no reason not to believe that he can’t backup Nerlens Noel next season. Sims has four double-double’s since joining the Sixers and with more minutes, it looks like that can almost become a nightly occurrence. Sims averaged 10.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 26.8 minutes during the month of March. April is only a three-game sample so far, but Sims is averaging 16.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in 31.0 minutes per game. As the minutes increase, so does his statistics which is exactly what everyone wants to see.
Sims should have plenty of minutes coming his way as the Sixers close out the season. There isn’t much to cheer for except the development of young players, Henry Sims being one of them. Everyone can say whatever they like about this Sixers season, but it’s not a waste. If the Sixers have found a competent big man in Henry Sims, then it was worthwhile. If it wasn’t for the Sixers, does Henry Sims ever get an opportunity to prove himself int he NBA? Doubt it. Regardless, he’s wearing Sixers red, white and blue and hopefully he will stick on with this squad for the future.