Henry Sims made the most of a unique situation on the bottoming-out Philadelphia 76ers during the last season and change. The former Georgetown big man went undrafted in 2012, and after some time in the D-League he surfaced with the Cavaliers before finding his way to Philadelphia in the Spencer Hawes trade.
He became the starting center for the Sixers right away, and put up 11.8 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 27.2 MPG while shooting 48.9% from the field over the final 26 games of the season.
In 2014/15, his minutes were reduced as other big men began to populate the Sixers' roster. By the time summer arrived it appeared that everyone had forgotten about Henry Sims -- if they even knew of him in the first place -- and he eventually was only able to secure a training-camp deal with the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns found out firsthand in 2014/15 how important a third center can be, as they were forced to turn to Earl Barron by the time March rolled around, leading to predictable results. Can Sims make the team and offer some more stable insurance to the Suns' frontline?
We turned to Sean O'Connor from Liberty Ballers, SB Nation's Philadelphia 76ers affiliate, to gain a little insight.
Let's start simple: can you give us a quick roundup of Sims' strengths and weaknesses on the court?
-- Sims plays like a backup center found more commonly in the mid-2000s. Henry shot 41% overall from midrange on a significant number of attempts, not great but also not terrible for a backup center, and with a 20%+ usage rate on the season did his part in creating offense from there and also the post. He also doesn't foul too much for a center and is an adequate rebounder. His effective range is about out to 18 feet, though the Sixers convinced him (like they do all their non-cornerstone pieces) to expand his range to beyond the three point line. It didn't turn out great.
Sims does not move well on defense and doesn't rack up steals or blocks. Sims lacks a lot as a rim protector since he's very ground-based. I'm not sure his feet lift up off the ground even when he runs, so despite being seven feet tall his block numbers are more like a guard's than a center's. Those slow feet result in poor rotations too. About the only area of defense where Sims is good is in defending physical forwards and centers, since he's a pretty strong dude.
Some, including you and I, were surprised that Sims received only a training camp contract after last season, when he put up respectable per 36 numbers of 15/9/2 on 47% shooting from the floor. Is there any particular reason you can think of why he was passed over this summer?
-- Losing a rotation spot on the most ridiculed team in the NBA isn't a great look - that couldn't have helped his case for a guaranteed contract.
It appears that as last season wore on, Sims' minutes gradually diminished. Was this a result of his play on the court, or were there other factors involved?
-- Mostly it was a matter of circumstances outside his control. The Sixers signed Furkan Aldemir to a multi-year contract mid-season and claimed Thomas Robinson on waivers from Denver to reach the NBA's salary floor. Those two along with Nerlens Noel and Luc Mbah a Moute caused a front court logjam. Sims was the odd man out only because the Sixers already had an extended look at him, and he was on an expiring contract. By mid-season it was clear Sims was not part of the team's future plans, so he was low on the playing time priority list.
Finally, the Suns have had quite a turbulent 12 months in terms of player behavior, with a lack of leadership in the locker room and numerous instances of public grousing. What kind of character can be expected from Henry Sims?
-- Sims was one of Brett Brown's favorite players. This is how Brown described Sims before this past season, per CSN Philly's Dei Lynam:
"He is a man. He acts like a man. He talks like a man. He is a leader. There is a grumpiness that I like. There is a toughness that I like. I feel he is an NBA player. He's a keeper."
Sims also acted professionally upon his benching and was ready to play as the Sixers held Noel out of games near the end of the year with injury concerns. He won't be a malcontent, even if he's a little bit grumpy as Brown says. He can be especially grumpy if poor customer service is involved.
Future with the Suns
Again, Earl Barron happened last year. Sims would be an immense improvement. Jon Leuer probably has a hold on being the Suns' fifth big, but who knows what might happen with the Markieff Morris saga still unfolding.
And for your viewing pleasure, here are some notable performances by Henry Sims. Enjoy.