Its hard not to take notice of the amazing numbers Courtney Sims has been putting up in the D-League so far. Through 12 games, hes averaging 23 points, nearly 13 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 2.8 blocks in 40 minutes per game, shooting an outstanding 58.5% from the fieldmaking him the #1 rebounder in the league, the #2 shot-blocker, the #3 scorer, and #2 in PER. Already a per-minute monster last season, as you can see in his advanced stats profile page now hes doing it for entire games. Is his production something that will translate to an NBA setting? Were watching him closely in Orem to try and gather as many clues as we can to help make that assessment. This is what we managed to piece together.
Sims is a pretty unique prospect as far as the D-League is concerned. He has great size, nice length and a decent (although certainly improvable) frame, to go along with solid athleticism. His hands are very good and his touch is absolutely terrific, making him an excellent presence in the post at this level of competition. Right off the bat he showed a very good feel for the game, making some heady post-entry passes on high/low plays.
What really separates him from other D-League big men is his ability to create his own shot. He can put the ball on the floor and has very nice footwork and wherewithal in the post, executing pivot moves and spinning to either shoulder to get his shot off. He lacks strength finishing around the rim or trying to back down his man while grinding in the post, but the skill-level of his finesse moves allow him to create high percentage opportunities on a regular basis when hes getting touches. He also showed the ability to step out to mid-range and knock down 18 foot jumpers, again showing great touch, which is certainly reflected in his free throw strokeat over 75% on the season. He gets to the line at a great rate (his ability to attack defenses off the dribble plays a huge role here), which is a big reason why hes been scoring at such a nice rate this season.
Defensively, Sims still has plenty of room for improvement, as he gave up position far too easily in the paint and also did a poor job for the most part rotating to meet slashers in the paint. He has the length to contest shots, but does not have very good awareness on this end of the floor, probably lacking some toughness as well as strength. Considering what his role would be in the NBA, this is definitely an issue if hes to see quality minutes as a rotation player. He seems to lose his focus quite easily, especially when a bad call goes against himleading him to completely lose his composure.
Sims already has some very minimal experience in the NBA, having made Indianas roster last year. He looks like hes improved quite a bit since then, and it wouldnt shock us at all to see some team decide to call him up sometime soon to see just how good he actually is.