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7’5” giant Sim Bhullar takes baby steps

Already marked by the tallest Jazz player on court, Bhullar drew the other four towards his imposing frame.

Written by Shahid Judge |
Updated: April 10, 2015 5:00:17 pm
Sim Bhullar, Sim Bhullar NBA, NBA Sim Bhullar, Sim Bhullar India, India Sim Bhullar,  Basketball, Basketball India, Sports News, Sports Sacramento Kings were trailing hosts Utah Jazz by 14 points on Thursday when coach George Karl signalled the 22-year-old to come on. (Source: AP)

 

There had always been doubts about how quickly or how well Sim Bhullar would be able to adapt to the pace of the NBA. While the Canadian’s towering 7’5″ frame provided an impressive aerial advantage over opponents, his 360-pound, or 163 kg, bulk was deemed a hindrance. Nonetheless, in the 82 seconds he got to play in only his second-ever NBA appearance — a day after his 16-second long debut on Wednesday — the first NBA player of Indian descent inadvertently displayed the components that make his game. He logged two points and also a defensive rebound.

READ: Sim Bhullar beats the buzzer for sixteen seconds of fame

Sacramento Kings were trailing hosts Utah Jazz by 14 points on Thursday when coach George Karl signalled the 22-year-old to come on. Within half-a-minute, the center had collected the first statistics in his professional career through a defensive rebound. Twenty seconds later, he went for his first shot at the basket — an unsuccessful jump-shot from 15 feet away. But his moment of glory came 17 seconds from time.

Placed just a few feet from the basket, Bhullar got a pass from Omri Casspi. Sensing he’d be blocked after a spot of dribble, he returned it to the Israeli international, who once again passed it to Bhullar. This time, the giant center made the drive towards the basket. Already marked by the tallest Jazz player on court at that point in time, Jack Cooley at 6’9″, Bhullar drew the other four towards his imposing frame while dribbling with his right hand.

READ: Sim Bhullar makes history, debuts for Sacramento Kings 

When the four converged on him, the move drew a witty response by the commentator, who said: “they’re all like mice to him.” Bhullar’s teammates, in the meantime, stood unmarked, ready to pounce on the ball. Bhullar, though, almost nonchalantly shrugged off Cooley’s physical presence before neatly sinking a hook shot for his first-ever NBA basket and two points.

High fives followed along with subtle congratulations. Bhullar, however, did not celebrate much as his team lost 91-103. Nonetheless, the first Indian-origin hoopster to play in the NBA can take plenty of positives from his brief stint on the court. Bhullar lacks the pace, a shortcoming he himself admits to. Yet with the formidable weight comes a great deal of strength which he used to make easy work of Cooley’s defensive challenge.

Tactically, the move from which he scored the point was a well thought out drill. Bhullar attracted all his opponents once Cooley was rendered ineffective. From there he could have gone for a pass to any of his unmarked teammates. And should they not be able to sink their distant 3-pointer shot, Bhullar’s height, strength and positioning sense would have been a handy tool for the rebound.

Kings’ number 32 now has two more possible chances to feature in games when the franchise travels to play Oklahoma City Thunder and then hosts the Denver Nuggets before his 10-day contract runs out. Two points are what he has to his name so far. A previously unknown entity in the big league, the giant now has taken a baby step towards realising his dream.

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