We need to start here: Sim Bhullar is a massive human being.
Even among the other guys who won the genetic lottery to be in the NBA the 7’5”, 360-pound center stands out as huge. He would be in the huddles for the Sacramento Kings’ Summer League team and just be head and shoulders above everyone.
Now it appears he’s going to be head and shoulders above everyone in the NBA — and make history as the first player of Indian descent in the league, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Bhullar has spent the entire season with the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s affiliate in the NBA Development League, after going to training camp with the Kings.
Conditioning has been a question mark in terms of Bhullar establishing a legitimate NBA future. But he has a major supporter in Kings owner Vivek Ranadive — one of India’s most celebrated businessmen — and Bhullar has shed more than 30 pounds over the course of his rookie campaign after weighing in at more than 400 pounds during summer league play with Sacramento last July.
This is a big step for history — the first player whose family is from one of the world’s most populous nations. It’s a good thing to add diversity to the mix. Bhullar was raised in Toronto by Indian parents, then played his college ball at New Mexico. He was undrafted and signed by the Kings.
This order almost certainly came from Ranadive, because the Bhullar I saw at Summer League needed a lot of work to be NBA ready. He was a project.
While conditioning was certainly an issue, so were fundamentals — his footwork, his touch, his sense of the game, his defense all needed a lot of work. Maybe a season in the D-League moved him along that road but I’m not sure he could be ready yet for the speed and athleticism of the NBA game yet. That said, he has averaged 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks a game for Reno this season.
The bottom line is this, the owner wants it, so we’re going to get see just how ready he is for the NBA.