As the 2013-2014 NBA Season finally begins, it’s as good as time as ever to take a look at each player on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. This profile looks at one of the newest Cavaliers, Henry Sims.
Tale of the Tape:
Name: Henry Sims
Position: Center/Power Forward
Years Experience: 1 (spent most of last season with the Erie BayHawks of the D-League with the exception of a ten day contract with the New Orleans Hornets
Years with Cavaliers: first season with the Cavaliers
Height: 6ft 10in
Contract: $788,872 in 2013-2014
An afterthought when he was invited to training camp by the Cavaliers, Henry Sims was arguably the surprise of the night on when he played 13 minutes in the Cavaliers’ overtime win against the Pacers Saturday night. Not only did Sims take Tyler Zeller’s minutes that night, but he was off the bench before Anthony Bennett against the Bulls on Monday. While no one would ever expect the first overall pick to lose minutes to a former D-League All-Star, Henry Sims has a way of proving other’s expectations wrong.
At 6’10 without shoes and possessing a 7’4 wingspan, Sims possesses the height and length of a prototypical NBA center. At 245 pounds, he is a bit light bang down low with the Howards and Hibberts of the world, but is big enough to match up with most centers. He is not a great athlete however, and at 23 years old, that is unlikely to change. The combination of age and lack of athleticism are two of the biggest reasons he was not selected in the 2012 NBA draft, although to be fair Sims’ game is based much more on skill and effort than athleticism. It will be interesting to see how he matches up with other NBA big men if he is given extended run by Mike Brown.
In his short time as a professional, Sims has begun to establish himself as a hard worker with a high basketball I.Q. This may be due to his experience playing at a high level college program at Georgetown, which has had quite a few players go on to successful NBA careers. It may also be due to the time and work it took Sims to finally emerge as an impact college player as a senior (he is definitely a late bloomer). As an undrafted rookie last fall, he was one of the New York Knicks’ final cuts and made a lasting impression on coaches and fans. While spending the summer league with the Charlotte Bobcats, Sims drew praise from Bobcats coach Steve Clifford for his basketball I.Q., work ethic, and skill level. Indeed, Sims consistency and calm demeanor both on and off the court made him seem experienced beyond his years and helped him stand out during Cavaliers training camp. No matter what else happens, he has been able to elevate himself from undrafted D-Leaguer to NBA rotation player for the time being.
Sims put up solid offensive statistics in both college and the D-League. While his career field percentage of .479 at Georgetown was on the low side for a big man, some of this was due to Sims playing away from the basket a jump shooter who could help space the floor. The strength of his jump shot is evident in his free throw shooting, as he .708 from the line his senior year, and followed that up with a .797 clip while playing with the Erie BayHawks last season. Sims greatest strength on offense may be his passing as he averaged 3.5 assists per game his senior year at Georgetown and 2.2 APG with the Bay Hawks. Sims also has solid hands, which enables him to score around the basket proficiently despite his slender frame. Sims has also shown a willingness to run the floor that coaches appreciate, although his lack of athleticism somewhat limits him as an offensive threat in transition. While he has been a bit of a late bloomer, Sims’ skill and effort were among the reasons former ESPN analyst John Hollinger listed him as a sleeper in his 2012 Draft Rater.
While analysts thought that Sims would struggle defensively due to his lack of athleticism that was not the case last year. While it was a lesser level of competition, Sims’ combination of high basketball I.Q. and 7’4 wingspan allowed him to block 1.5 blocks and 0.6 steals per game last year. A somewhat disappointing rebounder in college, Sims also average 87 boards per game last year, including 6.2 on the offensive end. Most telling of Sims improvement on the defensive end is the fact that he has begun to earn minutes in the Cavaliers’ rotation. As an undrafted free agent, Mike Brown would have no need or desire to play Sims if all of his skills were on the offensive end. In fact, it is unlikely Sims would have made the Cavaliers’ final roster at all if he were not able to play solid defense. Now his energy and focus on that end have captured the attention of Brown, one of the most defense-oriented coaches in the league.
How does Sims fit in on the Cavaliers?
Before training camp began, it seemed like Sims had a solid shot to make the team as he has the ability to play center, unlike any of the other players invited to training camp. The general expectation was that Sims would be the Cavaliers’ sixth big, off the bench only due to the health issues of the players ahead of him. Now he has moved ahead of Tyler Zeller (who, it should be noted, is still recovering from his appendectomy) and possibly Anthony Bennett in the rotation (although it is more likely Bennett was getting a break to rest his shoulder and clear his head), Sims has a chance to establish himself in the NBA. With his fundamentally sound and low-mistake style of play. Sims could become a reliable backup center for the Cavaliers both this season and in seasons to come.