Following NBA Summer League earlier this offseason, a slew of D-League alumni proved to be too tempted by more lucrative contracts overseas to remain stateside and play in the minor league one more season. Even more alumni will now be forced to evaluate such options yet again, as many have (or are in the process of) already being waived by NBA teams as training camp comes to a close.
When the dust all officially clears by Monday's roster deadline, not as many D-League alumni from last season will be left standing on NBA teams. Having said that, there's little to no denying that former Erie BayHawks' big man Henry Sims will remain as one of the more talented of the bunch.
A lot has changed from one year to the next for the big man. Last fall, Sims was a still rather raw prospect participating for the Knicks in camp fresh out of college. Even then, however, his potential and defensive prowess was easy to spot. He was aggressive around the basket on both ends of the floor. Completely willing to sacrifice his body, Sims used his long arms to pester opponents, poking the ball away and crashing the boards. Perhaps all that was missing was that extra necessary refinement to his offensive skill set as well.
As a member of the BayHawks last season, Sims appeared on his way to finding that middle ground. A worthwhile "Rookie of the Year" candidate, the big man emerged as an NBADL All-Star. He averaged 16.4 points (on 50% shooting from the field), 8.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks through 41 contests.
In addition to beginning to understand how to work his way inside against opposing defenders, Sims also developed a consistent mid-range jumper for a big man. He carried such success over to Cleveland along with him, averaging 6.1 points (on 59% from the field) and 5.1 boards through eight preseason games. Needless to say, he made quite the impression.
Now, he has an NBA home.
In just a year, Sims has improved and developed tremendously on countless facets of his game. Offensively, he's much more refined. He understands how to read opponents and then react. Defensively, Sims is a true big man's big man. He does all the little things (i.e. the "dirty work") necessary to compete.
Last season, it was fun to watch all such things come together for Sims in the D-League. Here's to hoping such success and his interesting skill set go on to translate to the NBA game.