The second-year big out of Texas scored 12 points (new career-high), snagged eight rebounds, swiped two steals, and shot a perfect 6/6 from the field in his first start since Nov. 9.
Despite the Knicks losing to the Hawks 139-124, Sims played a very good game and contributed largely to the team’s efficient 59% shooting from the field with his finishing.
His effective performance on Friday night showed what he could potentially bring to the table while given the largest opportunity of his young career thus far.
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Jericho Sims could be a huge contributor with Robinson out:
With Mitchell Robinson out for the foreseeable future after undergoing surgery for a fractured thumb, Sims is going to be tasked making up for the loss for presumably the next month or so.
With his insane vertical and great athleticism, Sims could provide a massive spark to a Knicks offense that has looked lethargic of late.
His ability to jump at nearly eye-level with the rim makes him a serious lob threat on offense. Sims also plays with an aggression that makes him an elite finisher and rim punisher, and the Knicks could use another guy who plays with force down low.
Sims also has an opportunity to help tighten up the Knicks’ defense. His quick feet and verticality help him be able to defend on the perimeter and also protect the rim, which is what Robinson brought so prominently.
Sims had a -3 plus-minus on Friday, which was the best out of the starting five. He is showing that he can be a highly impactful player on both ends of the floor, and the hope is that he will consistently do just that.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau clearly has enough trust in Sims to make him the temporary starting center over current backup Isaiah Hartenstein, who scored just two points in 17 minutes on Friday.
Needless to say, Sims will be looking to prove something. This is by far the biggest opportunity Thibodeau has ever given Sims, and if he plays well enough, he could end up back in the rotation full-time when Robinson returns and become a true key piece as the Knicks look to get back on the playoffs.
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