When it comes to rookie center Jericho Sims, the New York Knicks are incredibly high on his potential. Standing at 6’9″ and 250-pounds, Sims has a lot of developmental work left ahead of him, which is why he would likely spend the majority of the 2021–22 season with the team’s G-League squad.
However, Sims has the potential to be a long-term solution at center, especially after a dominant performance on the boards in the Knicks’ most recent preseason win over the Washington Wizards.
Sims recorded 13 rebounds, three of which were offensive. He tallied seven points, shooting 50% from the field. While his stats show a quality game, Sims is weak in a few areas, including defensive positioning and communication.
Veteran point guard Derrick Rose indicated that Sims has immense potential, but he needs to learn how to be more communicative. Rose, similarly to Sims, is an introvert, and he has tasked himself with helping the Texas product break out of his shell.
“My job of being a vet is trying to get him to break out of that shell because as a big you have to be able to talk and communicate,” Rose said, per the NY Daily News. “And [coach Tom Thibodeau] is not going to allow him to be quiet on the court. So it’s my job to help the big guy with that.”
Being aware of your surroundings is an integral part of playing the center position, which is something that Sims will gain with experience. The team currently has Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson slated ahead of Sims on the roster, but that doesn’t mean their plans don’t include him in the future. Gibson is essentially on a one-year contract, and Robinson has one year left on his rookie deal. It is entirely possible they let Gibson walk next season and elevate Sims to the active roster, utilizing him as their primary backup.
Rose continued to offer his expertise to the young professional, insisting that paying attention is one of his most important lessons derived from playing with some of the best big men in the league.
“I told him no matter what, if I got the ball, if I jump in the air, always pay attention to me until I get rid of the ball,” Rose said. “Because sometimes I jump in the air and just to throw a fake pass just to give it to him for a lay-up. So just telling him everything I told Joakim [Noah] or any other big that I played with: to always keep their eyes on me so that they could get easy baskets.”
The Knicks have one final preseason game against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday evening, presenting Sims with the final opportunity to showcase his qualities. While I wouldn’t entirely rule out the concept of carrying Sims over into the regular season as a roster member, he will likely find his way down to the G-League at some point. Ultimately, it will be good for him to earn minutes against some quality players, and if he continues to grow, his time at MSG will come.