Jericho Sims has done his best with Mitchell Robinson out of the lineup. What can we take away in regard to his future?

The last time Mitchell Robinson played a basketball game was January 18th. Nine minutes into a game against the Washington Wizards he suffered a thumb injury that has sidelined him since and would ultimately require surgery to repair. It’s almost becoming a yearly tradition at this point that Robinson will inevitably miss some time. Enter Jericho Sims, the sophomore Texas product who has filled in and stepped into the starting role as admirably as a serviceable backup can. Being thrust into the starting center role after being a third-stringer is not easy.

While his stats don’t jump off the paper it’s his intangibles that make Sims an asset to the Knicks; he is a relentless player, and he can run and jump with the best of them. For a more traditional big man that mostly operates in the paint, Sims is a capable perimeter defender, who on occasion can hold his own versus guard or wing. At the very least, he’s not just going to let guys blow by him.

His quickness and footwork allow him to stay in front of smaller and more agile players. When Sims is guarding players on the perimeter (greater than 15 feet from the basket) he’s holding them to under 40% shooting. If Sims can continue to separate himself defensively it’s very possible he could have a real future under the defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau.

 

Still just in his second year and only recently getting consistent playing time his talent is still extremely very raw. Sims may be the least skilled center on the Knicks but he’s certainly the most athletic. He runs the court well and can jump out of the gym. It seems like every game he makes some sort of impact, whether it’s a timely score or rebound it’s going to be difficult to take him out of the rotation when Robinson is ready to return. 

The Knicks signed Sims to a three-year contract extension this past summer. It seemed like the Knicks had chosen him to be the backup going forward after moving on from some veterans on the team but the subsequent signing of Hartenstein had left Sims in Limbo in regards to his role and playing time before the Robinson injury. And while he’s taken his opportunity and run with it, Sims’ redundancy might force him back deep on the bench eventually. With the combination of Robinson’s classic back-to-the-basketball style of play and Hartenstein giving the Knicks a modern creator-type style of play, there might not be any more minutes for Sims in an already notoriously short rotation when everyone is healthy. Luckily for the 2021 draft pick it seems like he’ll have significantly more time on the court before any of that happens. Robinson is expected to be sidelined for a while with no timetable set for his return. Sims can continue to raise his stock and prove he can help the team remain competitive while one of its important players is out long-term. 

For now, Sims can rest easy knowing he will likely play and mostly start for at least a few more weeks as he prepares to participate in the 2023 Slam Dunk contest. Unlike his teammate and reigning champ Obi Toppin who has shown in-game what he can do in the air, nobody knows how creative Sims can be, only that he can jump high, really high. Like this:

And like this: 

With Sims entering the contest the Knicks look to have repeat Slam Dunk champs representing the blue and orange since Nate Robinson won the event back in 2009 and 2010.

Related Content

»Read: What Do The Knicks Have To Offer Kevin Durant? 

»Read: The Knicks’ Trade Deadline Primer

»Read: Diving Into Media Coverage of the Knicks