If I were the head of management for the Sixers (as I’m pretending to be for this series), they’d currently have Michael Carter-Williams, Thad Young, and James Anderson all still on the team. The first of those two would be starters, and Anderson would come off the bench. Now I move onto another starter for the second half of last year, C Henry Sims. Sims came over in the Spencer Hawes trade at the trade deadline in a trade that also gave the Sixers Earl Clark (who never played a game for them). I didn’t think Sims would be anything special or even receive more than 10 minutes a game, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Sims turned out to be one of my favorite players from last year. Not only did he start 25/26 of the games he played for the Sixers last year, but he played excellently. He went from averaging about 8 minutes per game in Cleveland to about 27 per game in Philly. That’s a big jump, and he acted as if he were meant to play that much all along. He averaged 11.8 PPG and 7.0 RPG for the Sixers last year, filling the obvious hole that Hawes left when he was traded. Except, while Hawes was likely to be inconsistent and take 10 more shots than he was supposed to, Sims knew exactly what his role was.
Sims is an ideal player to have on a team. He works hard and never gets into trouble with his mouth or in extra curricular activities outside of basketball. He came to the Sixers to play basketball, and that’s all they got from him…which is exactly what they wanted. His maturation and improvement were prevalent on a game-by-game basis. After he started getting more confident with his role as a starter, his production would rarely taper off. While he wasn’t putting up Shaquille O’Neal numbers for a center, he was consistently doing well and getting better- exactly what GM Sam Hinkie wanted from a player like that.
When the Sixers completed a few trades at the deadline, I thought Sims was the player with the least value of everyone that they got. Ironically, he turned out to be the most important player they got in all those trades, becoming an every-night starter.
While he started off a little shaky in the starting role, he improved quickly and often. It only took him 7 games with the Sixers to drop a 20/10 game, adding 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, slightly outplaying his opponent DeMarcus Cousins, who’s considered one of the better centers in the league. That’s an outstanding game for any center in this league. He went on to regularly flirt with a double double, getting 3 more that season, including 2 other 20+ point games.
But, as with James Anderson, these stats are a bit bloated due to the fact that they had no one else. The difference with Sims is that he was consistent and always getting better. He seemed to always be one of their top performers game after game. So what’s his role for next year? Well, with C Nerlens Noel coming back from an injury, they’ll likely have to battle for that starting job, which I think ultimately will be won by Noel. That doesn’t mean that Sims is worthless. I think he’s the ideal player to have as a backup center and would love to have him back in red, white, and blue next year. He is a free agent after this year, so his performance in the second half of the season could warrant him some looks from other teams, but I think the Sixers would be smart to hold onto him.
Verdict: re-sign, but move to a bench role