Did the Knicks land a steal in Jericho Sims? | Texas product dominates in first Summer League game

jericho sims, knicks

It wasn’t until late in the draft that the New York Knicks landed Texas big man Jericho Sims, who signed a two-way deal early on Sunday before posting an eye-opening performance in his NBA debut during the 2021 Summer League.

Sims can compete in a maximum of 50 NBA games this upcoming season on his new contract. However, the team might be looking to offer him a longer deal if he continues dominating in the paint and showcasing incredible athleticism.

In the loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Sims played nearly 22 minutes. During his time on the floor, he connected on six field goals, hitting 100% of his shots. He also posted six defensive rebounds, two offensive rebounds, and one block, making him the only Knick to have a positive +/-.

Surprisingly, he dominated the game, at one point landing a beautiful alley-oop from Immanuel Quickley in which he seemed to levitate above the rim before slamming it down on the defender’s head.

“Jericho, man, does he jump really high,’’ fellow dunker Obi Toppin said. “Jericho is a sponge and loves to learn and get better. He’s going to be a really good player.’’

At 6’10”, Sims electrified the team, scoring 12 points. While the entire team shot just 37%, his success elevated that number. He is known as a classic defensive specialist but also has bouncy athleticism that could translate well in the transition game at the NBA level.

Last year with Texas, Sims averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He also connected on 70% of his shots, making him a traditional big man that dominates around the rim.

Sims indicated the Knicks simply want him to be a “rim runner,” hovering in the paint and taking advantage of good point guard play.

“That’s what they had planned for me,’’ Sims said of his contract. “Right now. I can do other things, but [rim-runner] is what they want me to do right now.’’

The majority of scouts coined him a defensive weapon, but it was quite clear he can also contribute offensively, especially when the defense breaks down. The Knicks have a ton of quality shooters who will force defenses to spread the floor, opening up the pick-and-roll game for athletic big men like Jericho.

If he continues performing like this, he could find himself sitting on the bench to open the year, but it would take a tremendous Summer League display to put him in a position of leverage.