MIAMI -- When Henry Sims arrived in Philadelphia via a trade with the Cavaliers on Feb. 20, he had appeared in 22 NBA games over the course of two seasons and played 173 total minutes.
In the near two months since, Sims has started 24 games, played in 25 and averaged 27 minutes per contest. With those minutes have come production -- 11.8 points per game and 7.0 rebounds.
How does a guy go from anonymity to respectable starting center numbers?
“Preparation and coaching in the past and here,” Sims explained of his surprising success. “I feel like I have prepared myself well for this type of situation. The coaches I have had up to this point have been great teaching me and mentally helping me with the game.
“In Cleveland there were a lot of good players in front of me that had already proved their worth. It was a matter of me just waiting my time. When I came here I was thrown into the fire so to speak, and I was ready for it.”
Numbers don’t tell the whole story of what Sims brings to the table. Prior to the trade deadline, the Sixers' frontline often got manhandled. They lacked a necessary physicality and relied more on finesse. Sims has filled that void.
“I love him. There is a workmanlike mentality with him,” Brett Brown said. “He is serious and he is grumpy and he is a better shooter than I thought.”
The adjectives kept coming from Brown about his undrafted big man.
“He is Georgetown coached,” Brown continued. “He is tough. He has qualities that are so appealing to me. He is not an above-the-rim player. There is not that sexy stuff to his game, it is just blue collar, here I am. What I see, I really like. He has taken an opportunity with his minutes to prove to everyone at 23 years old he can do some great things.”
“That was definitely one of my goals coming in,” Sims said when asked if he thinks he has proven he is an NBA player, in Philadelphia or elsewhere.
“[Brown] hasn’t told me anything. He loves my defense, and I enjoy playing it. In my head that is what he loves, that is what he wants.”