How do you pick out the Philadelphia 76ers' most underrated player when the team has been just about as bad as many expected them to be? The answer’s actually pretty easy because there's only been a handful of guys who have been around long enough to make a surprising impact.
A wild fact about the Sixers involves just how much player movement has taken place. Only eight of the 15 players on the starting regular season roster are still on the team. Only six of them have seen the court and not been relegated to D-League action at some point in the season.
The bottom line is that there's very little stability when it comes to the roster of Philly's franchise. There hasn't been much regularity in terms of who's been on the court, but the Sixers were lucky enough to acquire a gem of a player at the trade deadline.
He goes by the name of Henry Sims and he’s currently the team’s most underrated member.
Let's take a look at why.
Sims recently played in his 21st game as a Sixer. The amazing part is that he only competed in 22 NBA contests before joining Philadelphia late into the 2013-14 season. People forget to think about Sims as anything more than a fill-in center for a team looking to tank, and a large reason for it is because it would have been hard to see him play before he arrived in Philly.
Christopher A. Vito from The Philadelphia Times Herald wrote an article on Sims getting a shot to shine. Here's what Sims told Vito:
Just paying my dues. It takes a while in this league to earn your stripes. A coach told me while I was in Cleveland, ‘Everybody gets their shot. At some point in time, if you stick around long enough, you get your shot.
I’m a confident individual. I feel like I should’ve had my shot a long time ago. Right now that I have it, I’ll show the world what I can do. I know I can play. I know I’m an NBA player. My mindset, when I got here, was to show I could
The undrafted center has simply never gotten an opportunity to prove that he belongs in the league. Playing with the Sixers has finally given him that chance, and you'll soon see that he's taking complete advantage of it.
It's time to finally get to Sims' numbers. Here's a look at how he's done on each of his teams:
|Year||Team||Minutes Per Game||Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per Game|
|2012-13||New Orleans Pelicans||2.5||2.0||1.0||0.0|
It's no surprise that more minutes equals an increase in production. Still though, to be averaging over double-digits in points and nearly seven rebounds per game is more than impressive for a player getting his first opportunity to start. His season averages with the Sixers look great, but the most promising part of Sims' game is how he's continuing to improve.
He's scoring 15.1 points per game in his last nine matchups, as well as averaging 8.7 rebounds during that time frame.
The craziest part is that Sims' name continues to go under-the-radar. Philadelphia's headlines are almost always dominated by Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young or some kind of talk about tanking. The people or ideas that get society most excited are those that will continue to be discussed, and Sims doesn't happen to be one those subjects.
It's certainly not for his lack of on-court production, though.
Sims might be doing better than anybody expected, but what does it mean for his potential future with the Sixers?
Hoopshabit.com's Chris Reichert wondered if Sims could be a solid rotational player moving forward. Here's what he concluded:
Earlier this season Henry Sims was wasting away on the bench of the Cleveland Cavaliers until Feb. 20 rolled around and he was shipped off to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Spencer Hawes trade. In the NBA sometimes all you need is an opportunity; and it looks like Sims got just that with this move.
Henry Sims is still young (just turned 24 on March 27), and he stands a lengthy 6’10″ and weighs 245 pounds. He can bang down low and occasionally knock down a mid-range jumper. However, Sims is going to leave his mark with an endless motor, rebounding and solid defense — that’s how backup centers get paid in this league.
The initial thought when hearing backup center might be a negative one. After all, everybody's striving to be the go-to guy, right?
It's important to remember that Sims was doing his best to stick around in the NBA, let alone have a specified role. Being a backup center who's consistently looked at to give solid minutes on a rotational schedule is more than he could have asked for prior to the 2013-14 season.
The Sixers and Henry Sims ended up being a surprisingly perfect fit. It's too bad that he doesn't get the credit that he rightfully deserves after playing incredibly solid basketball since joining Philadelphia.
If he's able to carry his same game into next season then it wouldn't be surprising to see the "underrated" title slowly disappear, though.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through April 6.
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