With the Sixers season in the rearview mirror, we look back at the kind of year each player had. In honor of Tinder, Liberty Ballers is "swiping left" on players we don't want, and "swiping right" on who we want to keep.
There comes a time in every man's life when he thinks "Well, it was fun while it lasted." It had it's moments of pure, unadulterated ecstasy and it's fair share of downers, but on the whole, it was a solid experience. The same can be said for the Henry Sims era as a Philadelphia 76er.
Sims, the 25-year-old big man from Georgetown, arrived in Philly as a mere afterthought in the Spencer Hawes trade at the 2014 trade deadline. At the time, the deal was initially interpreted as Hawes to Cleveland for Earl Clark, two second-round picks and a player to be named later. Essentially, Sims joined the Sixers with zero expectations. He was just the latest example of Sam Hinkie taking a flyer on a young prospect, an extremely low risk, higher reward gamble on a big that could run and chew gum at the same time.
Sure enough, Sims began to flourish under Brett Brown and then-Sixers front court player development coach Greg Foster, now an assistant to Jason Kidd in Milwaukee. Sims showed the crafty footwork of a seasoned veteran, and legitimate poise with his back to the basket while working on either block.
While Nerlens Noel served as one of the main attractions at the Las Vegas Summer League in July, Sims, Jarvis Varnado, Arnett Moultrie and Brandon Davies all participated in voluntary workouts at PCOM. Sims went on to start opening night this season alongside Noel while the other three big men were no longer in the league as of January 7.
Having gone undrafted, holding a roster spot in this league this long is a victory in itself for Sims. But as the 2015-16 season draws closer, the Sixers are inching nearer and nearer towards competitiveness and the team's wiggle room to take gambles on players is starting to quickly evaporate.
Obviously the team's roster will continue to remain fluid. There's no guarantee anyone from Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel down to Ish Smith will be on this roster by the start of next season, but there's obvious momentum in the team's front office and coaching staff after the successful season of developing Noel, Jerami Grant, Robert Covington and so on. The Sixers brass is gearing its expectations towards the playoffs, maybe not in 2016, but in this Eastern Conference, there isn't an impossibility the Sixers are competing for the 8th seed next spring. If you aren't sold on a player's potential, it's time to cut ties.
With that, I'll opt to swipe left on Henry Sims as a Philadelphia 76er. It was fun while it lasted. His jump hooks last April were pleasant. But his painfully slow, inconsistent three-point stroke was detrimental to my soul. We don't need to see him plodding up and down the court like the aliens in Alien vs. Predator. Sims has proven he can be a third big man on a bad NBA team. He should be able to make a very nice living as a serviceable backup big man for another few years. I just hope those years aren't spent in Philly.