On Thursday night, a heated Syracuse-Georgetown rivalrly was renewed a bit as Fab Melo (on assignment by the Celtics) led the Maine Red Claws into its contest with the Erie BayHawks, who have Henry Sims to help anchor its front court this season.
Though the Red Claws came out victorious with a 113-111 victory, it was Sims who, with ease, outplayed the NBA rookie big man. Sims added 16 points (on 7 of 11 from the field) and 6 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play, whereas Melo logged just 6 points and 4 boards.
Sims is a very smart player who knows how to use his strength on both ends of the floor. After a stellar collegiate career at a school like Georgetown, this big man knows how to handle high competition in high pressure-filled moments.
He's certainly not afraid to muscle his way around. Sims turned a few heads in the Big Apple with the Knicks during training camp because of this. Big men who like to get down and dirty come around far too rarely these days, but Sims' style of play is that old-school gritty effort many long-time NBA fans are used to.
On the offensive end, Sims likes to bump a defender or two in order to get better (and easier) looks for himself inside. He's also not afraid to take a mid-range jumper. Already showing promise, that same jumper is something Sims can continue working on to make him a more versatile offensive option for NBA teams.
But his true strength is more evident of the defensive end. A garbageman of sorts, Sims attacks the glass and likes to fight for rebounds, or use his lengthy frame to pester his opponents inside as well. He does the dirty work, and cleans up quite well.
The Georgetown alum appears like the complete package of a player, but the NBADL is undoubtedly the right place for him at this early point in his career. Sims doesn't exactly lack a certain skill or ability, rather just experience. He's someone whose skills need a bit of refinement. Soon enough, he will be in the NBA. That same gritty nature with which Sims plays has helped an array of big men find NBA gigs and achieve success in The Association in recent seasons.
Just how long Sims will have to wait remains to be seen. That said, perhaps the big man will be getting even more looks after the new year. January's NBA D-League Showcase could turn out to be a big difference maker for a player like Sims.
In a month where NBADL teams welcome back many of its waived training camp prospects back as practice players, some of the more promising players in the league to date may soon catch on with NBA teams in the same fashion.
Such an option may not be as feasible now, but it's in January that big league teams can begin signing players to ten-day contracts. If an NBA squad suffers an injury to a big man or two, Sims is the perfect type of player to bring in as a short-term solution. He has the size and skills, but what's more, his old-school style of play will undoubtedly push his teammates in practice.
With a ten-day contract or two, it'll be up to Sims to convince a team that he deserves to stick around for the long-haul. Just a few weeks remain until such an opportunity may become a reality, but as he waits to usher in the new year, Sims simply needs to keep doing more of the same on the court.
Entering Thursday's game, Sims was averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1 block per contest.