The New York Knicks overhauled various positions this off-season but retained multiple players that featured during the 2020-21 campaign. The front office extended two centers: Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson over the next few seasons.
Gibson, who is 36-years-old and played in 45 games last year for the Knicks, averaged 5.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and shot 63% from the field. Ultimately, he is well beyond his prime and offers more mentorship than actual production on the court.
During the postseason, Gibsonâ€˜s presence was essential, as he provided energy and defense off the bench. However, Gibson doesnâ€™t offer much in the scoring department and will likely serve as a third-string option on the roster this upcoming season. However, one young rookie could take a spot. The Knicks might want to consider an alternative direction after a strong Summer League performance by Texas product, Jericho Sims.
It is important to keep in mind that the Knicks extended Gibson on a two-year, $10 million deal, with an out after the first season that will cost $4.9 million in base salary. The likelihood of Sims making the active roster is slim, but he will be one of their primary options in case of any injuries or deficiencies at the center position.
While Sims might not be an immediate impact player, he could very well play a part this upcoming year, especially after Mitchell Robinson suffered multiple injuries that forced him out for the majority of last season. In that scenario, Sims could find himself on the bench, picking up minutes over Gibson, who is athleticism is degrading with age.
During Summer League play, Sims averaged 28 minutes per game over five contests. He posted 8.2 points, shooting 81% from the field, including 8.2 rebounds, with 2.2 of them being offensive. He showed unparalleled athleticism getting above the rim and succeeding off the pick-and-roll. With solid point guard play, which Immanuel Quickley provided during his dominance stretch, Sims has the potential to be a great player in the future.
BOUNDING & ASTOUDING
Jericho Sims SO active on the glass pic.twitter.com/WCfeX5V5xk
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) August 16, 2021
The Knicks signed Sims to a two-way contract as the 58th pick in the draft. At 6’10” and 245-pounds, he seems to be a far different talent compared to the previous players selected at that same spot. Aside from his solid scoring abilities, Sims also seems to be a quality defender, blocking the interior with physicality and anticipation. He only trailed Obi Toppin in rebounds, who finished with 8.3 this summer.
Expect Jericho to be a G-League regular this upcoming year, but with Gibson on a one-year contract essentially, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see Sims take on a bigger role during the 2022-23 season. In the meantime, focusing on his development and how we can translate his skills for the NBA is a priority.