As the NBA season has progressed the New York Knicks have proven that they are one of the better teams in the entire league and certainly one to be respected in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. However, age and health has been a concern for their roster all season. Moving forward, they are hoping to get both Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace back to full health but clearly don't know that either will be at full strength again this season. That has caused the team to look for possible replacements and reinforcements in the frontcourt. Could they find a big man who could help them on their Erie BayHawks roster in Henry Sims?
Henry Sims is a power forward/center from Baltimore, Maryland. He's 6'10", 245 pounds and attended Georgetown University from 2008-12. He went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft but was given the opportunity to play in the 2012 NBA Summer League with the Utah Jazz. He later signed with the New York Knicks. After an impressive pre-season Sims did not make the final roster but was signed to the New York Knicks D-League team, the Erie BayHawks.
Sims has thrived in the D-League and developed his skills under the watchful eyes of Allan Houston. He was named to the Prospects All-Star roster for the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game.
The Erie BayHawks' section of NBA.com reports that Sims and teammate D.J. Kennedy will represent the team at the All-Star game and that Sims has performed very well this season.
Sims (6-10, 245, Georgetown) has become a dominant force in the paint for the BayHawks. The rookie center is currently averaging 16.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Sims has also recorded nine double-doubles this season and has scored in double figures in 23 of Erie’s 27 games. In Erie’s recent three-game road trip, Sims averaged 22.0 points and 14.7 rebounds per game, highlighted by a 29 point and 17 rebound effort in Tulsa last Friday.
What does this mean for the New York Knicks? Well it shows that their development system is working. Kennedy was a skilled player in college and a very fun player to watch at St. John's University but he was a player that clearly needed time to develop his skills or he simply wouldn't be able to play on the NBA level. The D-League has allowed him to do that. Does that mean he will ever get the chance to play for the Knicks? Not necessarily. However, he is a young shooting guard/power forward that could be brought up if the team were to suffer injuries at those positions in the future.
Where this could have and affect on the Knicks roster is with Sims. He had a solid career at Georgetown and was one of those rare players that enjoyed all four years developing his skills at the college level. That showed during the pre-season where Sims was very impressive and likely would have made the team had they not had such depth with the acquisitions of Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace.
Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com reports the Knicks could look at Sims as possible depth for their frontcourt if other free agent and waiver wire options aren't available.
Waiting until after the All-Star break might be too late to sign Amundson, but the Knicks still have Henry Sims in their backyard. He's been tearing it up on the Knicks' D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, with high double-doubles on a consistent basis. While the Knicks are currently settled on their 15-man roster, Sims is definitely on the team's radar.
"They want to see if Henry is a young big they could add to their core group," a source close to Sims said. "I think if Henry keeps playing as he is, they would need to look now."
With that much depth and Mike Woodson's reliance on veterans that simply wasn't enough room for Sims on the main roster. However, that was beneficial for both Sims and the Knicks. It allowed the team to have a young big man to develop and have veteran depth at their top level and gave Sims the chance to develop his skills and have more playing time than he ever would have received on the NBA level.
That being said, things have changed. The health of the Knicks frontcourt has not held up. Although Amare Stoudemire has returned and looked very good he is still being limited to around 20 minutes a game. That will no doubt increase as the KnIcks start to come down the home stretch of the season and into the playoffs but for now he is being held back to protect his heath.
Furthermore, Marcus Camby has been extremely unreliable. While the Knicks should not be surprised because of Camby's health history he has only been able to play in 14 games this season. He will return sooner or later but he really hasn't given the team any reason to have trust in his body.
That brings us to Rasheed Wallace. He's suffered from a foot injury that will keep him out through at least he All-Star break. He and coach Woodson claim he could play today if needed but they also say he'd be reduced to about 10 or so minutes. Can he really be relied upon to make an impact?
When it comes to Kurt Thomas, well he's old. He kept himself in good shape and looks the same he did five years ago but he's obviously slowed. He's still got his jump shot and can be relied on for tough defense and hard fouls but will struggle with faster opponents and can't play too many minutes.
That's why the team has looked into Kenyon Martin and Louis Amundson. That's why Sims may be an option for the team. He has had time to develop in the system he'd be able to step right in and know the teams plays and rotations. Woodson would likely be less inclined to rely on him because of his age and experience but as a third or fourth big man in both the power forward and center rotations he'd only be there incase of injury or major foul problems.
Is Sims ready for the NBA level? Could he fill the need for another big man if the Knicks call upon him? Remember, any frontcourt roster moves depend on the health of Stoudemire, Camby and Wallace moving forward and any player brought in would likely be limited to around 15 minutes a game maximum. That being said, the fact that James White and Kurt Thomas have both started several games this season proves that every roster spot is important.