D-League Spotlight: Courtney Sims

Courtney Sims is this week's NBA D-League starIOWA — Success can be measured in so many ways. To most, success means getting the fat check for being an important person. Not to Iowa Energy Center Courtney Sims; to him it’s all about pride. That pride may get some recognition in the for of (ironically) a decent NBA check should the D-League stand out be recalled by the Bulls to replace Joakim Noah during his absence. But roster spot or not, Courtney Sims stood out last wee for the Iowa Energy and further proved the NBA’s D-League is the grooming grounds for the stars of tomorrow.

Courtney Sims played his college ball at Michigan, and went undrafted in 2007. He was picked up briefly by the Indiana Pacers and made short stints with the Suns, Hornets and Knicks. Sims has also played abroad, playing for CSKA Moscow of the VTB United League in Russia, and Capitanes de Arecibo of Puerto Rico’s BSN League before finally settling in with the Energy. Sims posted great numbers last week, earning the Player of the Game award on the 10th of December. In the game, Sims posted 24 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Energy to 103-89 dismantling of the New Mexico Thunderbirds. Sims is no stranger to D-League success, as his averaging of 22.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg, and 2.0 blocks per game earned him MVP honors in 2008-09 and an invite to the Denver Nuggets training camp in 2010. Although Sims failed to make the final cut, he hasn’t missed a step with the Energy as this season he is averaging 18.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg.

There was some talk inside the Bulls organization of possibly calling Sims up to help fill the shoes of big man Joakim Noah who is recovering from thumb surgery and will miss the next 8-10 weeks. “Courtney is obviously one of the premier big men in our league,” Nick Nurse, Sims’ head coach with the Iowa Energy. “I think true big men that can really score down there are a rare commodity around the world and his biggest strength is he can really score the ball. He’s really got good determination. He’s got the ability, he’s got the touch, he’s got those — and several other — attributes that enable him to be such a high scorer.”

“We’ll continue to look at it,” Bulls general manager Gar Formant said last Thursday about the possibility of calling up Sims. “We’ve already talked some about the possibility of looking into either a trade or picking somebody up, but at this point, we’ll go with what we have.”

With the emergence of Kurt Thomas as a reliable replacement for Noah, and with Taj Gibson waiting in the wings, the likelihood of Sims being called up isn’t very high. Noah’s injury will sideline him for at least 10 weeks and the Bulls will be in no rush to hurry him back into the lineup and risk further injury, so at this point anything is possible. Whether or not he earns a roster spot with the Bulls this season, Courtney Sims continues to dominate the NBA D-League and impress NBA scouts. “You know, A, I always hope my players get called up,” Nurse said, “But, if he doesn’t, I think you’re going to see him develop some more facets of his game as the year progresses.”

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