As a heralded recruit coming out of high school, expectations were quite high for DeShawn Sims
when he made his arrival in Ann Arbor. Two lackluster seasons for the Wolverines mixed with inconsistent play and horrible shot selection from Sims left little room for optimism for the junior. However, he has made a complete 180 with his play this season thus far, shooting 16 percent higher from the field and leading his team to two victories over top 5 opponents.
For starters, Sims passes the look test of a solid power forward prospect, minus a few inches. Although only 68, he has a very long wingspan and a massive frame. Already at a muscular 235 pounds, he has plenty of room to bulk up more if desired. Sims is a good, but not great athlete in terms of both running the floor and getting off of the ground. Its pretty surprising to see a player who is approaching 240 pounds get up and down the floor with the coordination that he does. However, he doesnt have the worlds best lateral quickness when defending players who opt to face the basket.
Much of Sims' offensive game centers around his ability to shoot the ball. Perfectly capable of knocking down jumpers from both mid-range and beyond the arc, he shows off good form and nice range for a power forward. The Detroit native's consistency from the three point line needs to continue to improve, but his accuracy is good enough for the time being to keep opposing defenders honest.
Inside, Sims has shown off a very soft touch when going to work in the post. Capable of finishing with either hand around the basket, he has shown glimpses of a nice jump hook turning towards both shoulders. His go-to move remains his turnaround jumper on the blocks, though.
The large hands that the Detroit native owns help him greatly in terms of finishing in the paint, both in transition and in half court sets. He catches even the hardest of passes inside, finishing with a dunk whenever possible. In transition, he runs the floor well and is usually able to beat his man down the floor for at least one easy bucket each game.
When Sims looks to attack the basket, its mostly two or three dribbles in a straight line. He isnt a player who is going to break you down with creative scoring moves off of the dribble, but can take slower big men off of the dribble with his solid first step.
One of the major problems that plagued Sims throughout this first two years at Michigan was his tendency to fall in love with the outside jumpshot. While he has been much better with this issue throughout this teams first few games, there are still many instances in which he would be better served making a power move towards the rim rather than settling for a tough fadeaway out of the post. Hes regardless gone from a horrid 39% from the field to a very solid 55% this seasonone of the main reasons hell be drawing much more attention.
Michigans now patented zone makes it a bit challenging to evaluate Sims man to man defense on a consistent basis. Theres no denying that he has the physical gifts to defend opposing power forwards on the blocks, but he appears a bit heavy footed when defending the perimeter. Hes certainly learning to play smarter defense, as hes not getting into the same type of foul trouble he did earlier in his career. The question remains whether or not he has the desire to defend with regularity. He has been a solid rebounder this season averaging 8.4 boards a game, despite posting poor numbers in this area throughout his first two years.
Sims consistency and ability to play winning basketball this year will eventually determine the type of NBA interest he receives at the conclusion of this season. He and Manny Harris
have firmly placed themselves on the NBA radar with their huge upsets on center stage, and will have the opportunity to further bolster their draft stock with strong play. For now, Sims has done a very nice job of doing so.