Earlier this week former Michigan forward DeShawn Sims announced on his Twitter page that he was invited to Boston Celtics training camp this fall. One piece of news that managed to slip by until yesterday was that former Wisconsin guard Kammron Taylor also received an invite to camp.
Both players will have a hard time making the final roster, but it's worth taking a look at their games to see what they bring to the court. Sims and Taylor could also be valuable in practice as the Celtics prepare for their 82-game regular season under new head coach Brad Stevens.
DeShawn Sims | SF/PF | Michigan
HT: 6'8" | WT: 225 | AGE: 25
Sims is a 6'8" forward that went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. That year he played with the Celtics for four games in the Orlando Summer League before signing with the Maine Red Claws. He ended up winning the 2011 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year, averaging 20.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 13 double doubles. Coached by Danny Ainge's son, Austin, it becomes apparent that the Celtics have been interested in Sims' career for quite a while now.
Since the 2010-2011 season, Sims has played with in South Korea, Puerto Rico, and most recently in Lebanon, where he averaged 22.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Search for DeShawn Sims on YouTube and you'll find numerous amounts of videos of him finishing of loud, powerful alley-oop dunks in transition, like this one. Sims appears to be a high-flyer, suggesting that he could compete with Donte Greene for a roster spot, who plays a similar up-tempo style.
It's difficult to find recent footage of Sims, but going back to his college days, he had the ability to face up from the post, and hit a 15-foot jump shot. Considering his success over the years, once can presume that Sims has retained that skill.
DeShawn also seems to fit the mold of the type of high-character players that Brad Stevens once tried to recruit in college. Sims was the first member of his family to graduate from college, but had to fight through a lot of adversity to do it. In a 2010 USA Today story, Sims' struggles were outlined. When Sims was only 12 he had to become the ‘man of the house' because his father was convicted on drug trafficking charges.
Three months into DeShawn's freshman year at Michigan his brother Marcus was shot dead. Later on at Michigan, his other brother, Marshall, was convicted of second-degree homicide.
Sims' coach at Michigan, John Beilein, said that he has never seen a player go through so much, "any one of those things would be too much for most young men. DeShawn is incredibly resilient."
Kammron Taylor | PG | Wisconsin
HT: 6'2" | WT: 175 | AGE: 29
Taylor is a point guard that last played at Wisconsin in 2007, and has since taken a tour around the world playing basketball for France, Turkey, Hungary, Venezuela, Cyprus, Spain, and most recently in Germany. Last year with Neckar L'burg, Taylor averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.4 turnovers in 28.6 minutes per game. He also shot 42.9 percent on two-point attempts and 30.3 percent from shots behind the arc.
From viewing only limited footage available of Taylor, it's obvious he likes to shoot the ball. He features a pull-up jumper from around free throw line, but sometimes takes a few more dribbles into the paint for a high floater. When attempting jumpers, Taylor looks like he can elevate from non-fundamental positions and still manage square his shoulders while in the air. However, this leads to inconsistency and his statistics support that thought. Also, each of Taylor's movements appear to be very sporadic, and I would imagine he could occasionally get out of control with the ball, leading to careless decisions.
Despite my negative comments, I think Taylor can actually bring a lot of value in practice. Even though Taylor isn't very good himself, he is a solid representation of a lot of players in the NBA. Brad Stevens can use Taylor to emulate the style of those shoot-first point guards that the Celtics will see throughout the season. If you think Taylor is just "a body being brought to camp," remember that there is value in everything, and Taylor's value could in preparing the final roster for the regular season.
It's also possible that I am underestimating his ability to make the roster. At 29-years-old Taylor has never played in the NBA, but he has an overabundance of experience playing overseas. Perhaps Taylor is being brought in to compete with Phil Pressey for the backup point guard position; I doubt it, but never say never.
I don't think Kammron Taylor will make this roster because Phil Pressey plays similarly and is seven years younger. For a young team, putting Pressey out there and letting him accumulate experience is much more valuable. As for DeShawn Sims, I fully expect him to compete with Donte Greene for the 14th or 15th spot on the roster. The Celtics have followed Sims' career for a while now, so they obviously like the kid. Both players are 25-years-old and play an extremely similar style. Unless Boston brings in another player, one of these two should compete for a roster spot.