At 7'5" and 360 pounds, Reno Bighorns' center Sim Bhullar is undoubtedly one of the most imposing forces the NBA D-League has seen, let alone, professional basketball as a whole, in recent seasons.
After spending training camp with the Sacramento Kings last fall, the big man was jettisoned to the team's minor league affiliate to further continue honing his skills and conditioning, too.
Bhullar became the first player of indian descent to sign an NBA contract.
Given his background, size, and stature, it's no surprise how and/or why Bhullar is becoming one of the more intriguing and popular players in all of the D-League. But interestingly enough, he's been proving as of late that he may have the skills to back up all of the (sometimes unnecessary) off-the-court hype as well.
There's no doubt that the more often Bhullar has had an opportunity to strut his stuff, he's been able to impress, albeit it, a bit. That said, it's taken him some him to adjust and find a natural fit (perhaps he's still working at it) inside Reno head coach David Arseneault Jr.'s rapid fire offense. The unique run and gun system calls for players to constantly be on the go from one end of the court to the next. Not the most athletic player, this takes time and effort from Bhullar. Taking into the consideration the pace at which the team plays, patience is not something that's always accounted for, so to speak.
The Bighorns have given Bhullar various rest days this season, and have played him more than thirty minutes just once. That appearance came on January 31st, when Bhullar helped Reno to victory en route to scoring a season-high 19 points, while also grabbing 11 rebounds and swatting away 5 blocks. He owned an eye-popping +36 in the contest.
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Building upon that game, Bhullar has now averaged 12.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3 blocks in his last four contests. He's shooting 71% from the field along the way.
His lack of athleticism aside, Bhullar continues to take advantage of some of the God-given gifts bestowed upon him, but not necessarily to most others. On the defensive end, he can block shots and grab rebounds with ease. When it comes to offense, he's steadily learning how to assert himself and use his physicality to his advantage down low, regardless of what kind of pressure the defense throws his way.
There are plenty of reasons why an NBA team would want to give Bhullar a shot, and just a few (arguably underwhelming) reasons why they wouldn't. The 22 year old will break into The Association at some point. There's little doubt about that. As he towers over all around him (quite literally, obviously), he's too awing of an individual not to take a chance on.
Whether or not he sticks around on the big league level, and proves he's more than simply meets the eye, remains to be seen. That said, it'll take him embracing what comes easy and using it to his advantage (all the while rising above some of his evident shortcomings in the process) to warrant an opportunity to show he can compete at the next level.