Why Did The Jazz Sign Henry Sims?

September 22nd, 2016 | by David J Smith
Four-year NBA veteran Henry Sims is the latest addition to the Jazz roster. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Four-year NBA veteran Henry Sims is the latest addition to the Jazz roster. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The Utah Jazz got one step closer to finalizing their training camp roster, inking veteran center Henry Sims. While this appears to be a simple, low-key camp invite, there may be a bit more to Sims than meets the eye.

First, who is Sims? The 6’11”, 248-lb big man hails from Baltimore and was a four-year player at Georgetown. He played very little his first two seasons, but assumed the back-up center role his junior campaign. As a senior, in a starting role, he tallied 11.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.4 BPG. Despite his solid showing, Sims went undrafted in 2012. He went to training camp with the New York Knicks, but was cut just days before the regular season commenced.

Sims toiled in the D-League with the Erie BayHawks and eventually made his NBA debut in 2013, while on a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Hornets. After a jaunt over in the Philippines, Sims began his NBA career in earnest. He got his feet wet with the Cleveland Cavaliers before spending 1 1/2 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers1. Yes, this was during that horrific run for the hapless Sixers, a run which finally may be winding down. Even so, Sims took advantage of the opportunity.  In 26 games that season, he put up 11.8 PPG (48.9 FG%) and 7.0 RPG in 27.2 MPG2. Because Philadelphia’s front court depth improved, Sims’ playing time dropped during his second season there. Even so, he chipped in 8.0 PPG and 4.9 RPG, playing both big positions. While it may be a case of putting up good numbers on a bad team, he showed he could contribute at an NBA level — even if just as a back-up big.

When Philadelphia drafted Jahlil Okafor, the writing was on the wall for Sims. He failed in a bid for a spot on Jeff Hornacek’s Phoenix Suns team and was once again relegated to the D-League. Sims got another chance with the Brooklyn Nets, signing in March and finishing the season there.

On the floor, Sims has some offensive game. In his full season with the Sixers, he showed he could finish inside at a decent clip (62.3 percent), thanks to a nice jump hook. Nearly 40% of his shots came outside of 10 feet, where he displayed good touch (40.9 percent on 10-15 feet and 43.4 percent on long 2s3). He is active and is quite mobile. Sims gets to the free throw line (.336 FTr), where he connects on 77 percent for his career.

Sims gives a good effort on defense, using his 7’4″ wingspan to his advantage. While not a shot blocker, he can play good position defense. He is an okay rebounder who sometimes gets pushed out. Perhaps the facet of his game that might interest Jazz fans most is his passing. At Georgetown, he was one of the nation’s best passing big man. He can find the open cutter, which would certainly be welcomed in Jazz head coach Quin Snyder’s offense.

What are his chances with Utah? Well, whatever transpires, it’s clear the Jazz like him. During his time, general manager Dennis Lindsey has been very calculated in all his moves. If a guy is brought in for 10-day pact, a workout or to training camp, it is because Lindsey and his crew have done their homework. There is familiarity here with Sims. Besides playing for the Jazz’s summer league entry in 2012 and attending a 2013 mini free agent camp, he was brought to town just two weeks ago. Since then, the Salt Lake City Stars acquired the returning player rights for Sims. And now, there is this training camp invite. The Jazz want to take an extended look at Sims, and at a minimum, training camp will give them the opportunity.

Sims was brought in to compete, with back-up center Jeff Withey and rookie Joel Bolomboy. While Withey’s contract this season is not guaranteed, he played well last season, especially when Rudy Gobert went down. At the veteran’s minimum, a guy with Withey’s elite skill — shot blocking — is a steal. Bolomboy’s contract has a nice guarantee, especially for a guy plucked late in the second-round. Utah seems high on the hard-working rookie. So, it is an uphill battle for Sims. But stranger things have happened. If Sims has a good showing, it could make things interesting for the Jazz’s decision-makers. Would they value his skill sets (an offensive track record in the NBA, passing) over what Withey and/or Bolomboy bring to the table? The likelihood is low, but that’s why teams desire a competitive, intense training camp — to let the best players emerge.

So, while the Henry Sims signing appears minor in nature, how he does in training camp and the preseason will be another storyline to follow.

David J Smith

David J Smith

Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News and has written for the Utah Jazz website and Hoopsworld.com (now Basketball Insiders). He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. He and his incredibly patient wife have five amazing children--four girls and a boy named Stockton (yes, really).
David J Smith
David J Smith

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3 Comments

  1. LKA says:

    Long time no hear David. Good post. No one ever talks about it but Chris Johnson?? With all the signings I don.t see him keeping a roster spot. Also I think Shelvin Mack will be traded for maybe a second rounder. It would be hard to keep four point guards and I think Neto has the inside track. I think the last three signings are for the Stars.And I like the idea of giving them a little bit of guarenteed money. One thing for sure is this years team has three strings and not a slouch in them.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      I think everyone assumes that Chris Johnson won’t make the team this upcoming season, simply because the Jazz now have better options.

      Based on some comments David Locke has recently made on his morning podcast, I think the Jazz intend on trading one of their 4 point guards and keeping rookie SF Quincy Ford to develop for the future.

      I believe that Shelvin Mack is a better player than Raul Neto and has more experience in the NBA. I would prefer for the Jazz to keep Mack over Neto (despite how Neto’s “dreamy” good looks are so intoxicating to female Jazz fans). If both Hill and Exum were injured, I would feel much better turning the point guard spot over to Mack than to Neto. However, Mack is on only a one-year contract, and may demand more in free agency after this season than the Jazz want to pay. Neto still has 2 years left on his deal at only $1 mil. per year or less. For that reason only, I would give Neto the edge (but that is an important consideration in the future, with the Jazz wanting to be able to re-sign all of their own good young players).

    • rvalens2 says:

      While I believe Mack is the better player, Neto is only going to cost the Jazz $1 million per season, while Mack’s price tag this season is going to be $2.43 million. For that reason, I believe the Jazz will keep Neto instead of Mack. After all, why pay more than twice as much for a 3rd-string point-guard if you don’t have to? Most 3rd-string point-guards (on average) play less than 8 minutes per game. And as I am sure you’ll agree, Neto can more than handle his own against any 3rd-string point in the league.

      While I do believe you are right about Mack getting traded, I doubt the Jazz will trade him for a second-round pick. It’s going to take a much better deal for the Jazz to want to give him up — especially this early in the season.

      Instead, I think Mack is much likelier to get traded just before the trading deadline. Why? Because he provides the Jazz a measure of insurance should Dante Exum not be ready. And by waiting, there is a strong possibility that by the trading deadline someone in the league is going to be desperate for a point-guard — making the Jazz a better offer than they can get right now.

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