Former Georgetown center Henry Sims is another in a long line of players the San Antonio Spurs could be targeting for their 59th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
The Spurs front office built a perennial championship-contending team by finding gems late in the draft, doing their homework on potential draft sleepers and are known to take sizable risks to bring in young prospects via the draft.
Sims, who worked out with the Spurs late last month, would be a low risk selection, but has the potential to have a high payoff on a team with some patience and a support system in place to aid in his development.
Among all things he has going for him, Sims comes from a school known for producing NBA centers, from Patrick Ewing to Roy Hibbert.
Hibbert along with several other former Hoya big men have served as mentors to Sims. Sims worked out last summer with Hibbert, Jeff Green and Greg Monroe, who he backed up for three years. Hibbert has also been very vocal about his support for Sims over Twitter, telling the 7-foot center to let him know if he ever needed advice or if he didn't understand something he was being taught on the hardwood and that the former Georgetown alumni in the NBA were there for him.
Hibbert also has very close ties to Spurs forward Tim Duncan after Duncan worked with him last summer and served as a mentor to the Pacers center last season. Not that Hibbert's relationship to Duncan means it will have an impact on Sims going to the Spurs, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have certain ties.
Sims by the numbers
7-0, 241 lbs.
7'4 wingspan, 8'11 standing reach
11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game during his senior season. ESPN Position Rank: 7
Mock draft position:
DraftExpress: 56 | NBADraft.net: 43 | ESPN: Second Round Pick/Undrafted
Combine measurements | Athleticism results
Why he would work for the Spurs
Sims has a very interesting skill set. He's built like a center, but has the vision of a guard. Sims was one of the better passing big men in the country and led his team in assists and blocked shots.
The Spurs definitely need size up front, and while they need it now, the chance that Erazem Lorbek could be coming stateside next season (or not) could give the Spurs the time to really develop Sims. He's a smart player that can play several roles on offense, but he could use some polishing on his overall game, improve his rebounding and could stand to bulk up a bit, especially playing against NBA Centers.
The Spurs have the Austin Toros as a resource and a tool to develop players, and with the right amount of patience and effort put into developing him, there's a chance he could be worth the wait. Someone told me once that you can't teach height, but the Spurs would be taking a small gamble on a player that has much more going for him than his height.
Why the Spurs could pass
Sims has often been criticized for being a late bloomer, especially during his first three years at Georgetown. The fact that he only showed any real development during his senior year could scare off some scouts, but at the same time, playing behind Greg Monroe for three years likely has plenty to do with his late development.
The Spurs are well known for using late second round picks on international players that can simmer overseas for a few years. Guards Josep Franch and Tomas Satoransky along with forward Kostas Papanikolaou are expected to be available around the 59th pick and could serve as the next great draft-and-stash. The Spurs already have ties with Satoransky, who they scouted over two years ago.
Norfolk State power forward Kyle O'Quinn, who they recently brought in for a workout, could also fall in the second round and O'Quinn is regarded as the better player, more athletic, a stronger rebounder and defender.
What they're saying
• Long, athletic big man
• Fluid player on both ends of the floor
• Adept at scoring around the basket
• Decent shooter from 15 feet in
• Great hands for a big man
Sims isn't the smoothest operator, but owns a unique set of skills that could be of use in the right system. He led the Hoyas in assists, showing the vision and awareness that allows him to facilitate from the high post. And while he's not thought of as a scoring threat, he's shown deceptive quickness with his back to the basket and a soft touch at the rim. Considering he's not a dominant rebounder, it would be beneficial for Sims to show he's capable of knocking down 15-18 footers throughout workouts (which he tried to do occasionally as a senior), just to increase his potential services at the position.
DraftExpress (All-Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Team)
A key cog alongside Kyle O'Quinn,Henry Simswas a presence on both ends of the floor as well, playing with terrific energy. Though Sims is certainly not an elite athlete or a finished product offensively, he made the most of his 7'4 wingspan and impressive frame, blocking a number of shots, pursuing the ball off the rim aggressively, and finishing around the basket. Struggling to rebound the ball at a high level as a senior, Sims's effort-level was a positive here, as he made an effort to go after caroms that he did not seem intent on chasing as a Hoya. Sims did not consistently knock down his jump shots, but he did show the same unique passing ability we saw from him at Georgetown. His high basketball IQ made him a terrific complement to the players around him here, and at 6'10 with a strong frame and excellent length, his budding skill-level stood out among some of the other big men in attendance, particularly when considering he was one of the youngest players in attendance.
Sims is the rare English major who gets looks from NBA teams this time of year. He ran for student government at Georgetown, where he took part in book clubs, played chess and quoted Langston Hughes. And he's really big and really good at basketball. Sims is 6-feet-11 3/4 and 241 pounds with a 7-4 wingspan.
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