Could Klutch Connection Bring Athletic Draft Prospect to Lakers?

Jericho Sims

Getty Texas Jericho Sims dunks during a game.

NBA draft prospect Jericho Sims has been making headlines thanks to the explosive athleticism he displayed at Klutch Sports’ recent pro day.

Sims drove toward the basket and tossed the ball off the backboard, passing the ball to himself for a dunk. While the play was ultimately a successful one, he got so high up on his jump that he caught the rim on the way down from his dunk, appearing to hurt his eye.

At the end of June, following an impressive showing at the NBA Draft Combine, Sims signed with Klutch Sports Group, the agency run by LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul.

Sims’ draft stock improved following the combine, and he is now expected to be taken in the second round. The Lakers do not have a second-round pick, owning just the No. 22 pick. Taking Sims at that spot is a stretch. But it’s possible that the Klutch connection could be strong enough to warrant the Lakers to select the forward sooner than expected.

If they do, Sims could bring some athleticism and defense to Los Angeles.


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Sims’ Background

Sims is a power forward who measured at 6-foot-9 without shoes and 6-foot-10 with shoes at the combine.

He spent four seasons at Texas before entering the draft. In his senior season, he played and started in 26 games, posting 24.5 minutes minutes per game. It was his most efficient season from an offensive standpoint, as he shot 69.9% from the field while averaging 9.2 points. Sims also averaged 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in his last NCAA season.

While at Texas, Sims was named to the 2021 Big 12 All-Tournament team and was selected as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention twice.


Sims’ Game

Athleticism is a primary appeal of Sims’ game. Among all combine participants, he ranked second in standing vertical leap (41.5 inches) and max vertical leap (44.5 inches) — the latter of which tied the second best all-time combine record in the category, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Sims has been referred to by The Athletic’s Jonathan Hollinger as a “no-frills, rim-running and shot-blocking” power forward. But Sims’ NBA.com draft prospect profile also mentioned that he can “switch and guard on the perimeter.” So he has versatility on the defensive end, and it could help him make an immediate impact.

Offensively, his athleticism, vertical and wingspan of 7-feet, 3.25 inches help him be a dominant big.


Sims’ Limitations

With his athleticism, Sims can easily be a dominant interior scorer. But Sims has a limited offensive game beyond that. Hollinger made note of this, saying his “shooting range ends at the charge circle.” This extends to the charity stripe as well. During his senior season, he shot just 52.0% on free throws.

He’s also 22 years old, making him an older rookie who could be less appealing.

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