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2021-22 Regular Season Preview: Skyforce Looking to Make The Most of New Format

By Nick Robinson | January 6, 2022

SIOUX FALLS, SD – After a month away from the Sanford Pentagon and two weeks with no games, the Sioux Falls Skyforce return to action today (Thursday, January 6) versus the Iowa Wolves.

“We are excited to be back playing, especially at home,” Skyforce Head Coach Kasib Powell said. “This has been a good time for our guys to develop. That’s what the G League is all about. But we are just ready to start getting back in the groove of things.”

The G League created a new format for the season, with the first 14 games of the season leading up to the Winter Showcase being tournament style.

The Skyforce went 1-1 at the 2021 G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas, Nevada in late December. Brandon Knight earned an NBA Call-Up to the Dallas Mavericks, after putting up 25 points, five assists and four rebounds in a 91-87 victory over Stockton in the first game of the Showcase.

DJ Stewart had his coming out party at the Showcase, as he boasted 20 points and eight rebounds against Stockton and a career-high 30 points and seven rebounds in a 112-99 loss to the Austin Spurs in the Showcase finale.

“I thought we played really hard both games,” Powell noted. “We are figuring out how to play a full 48 minutes, which is something we’ve needed to key on since day one. It was something we needed to lay as a foundation for the regular season and I think we accomplished that.”

The Skyforce finished the Showcase Cup with a 2-10, record, but showed many bright spots and played through adversity early.

“The record obviously is something we would like to improve upon,” Powell said. “But that will take care of itself if we are focusing on the right things. We are getting better and have stayed the course through a lot of different situations. To be able to say that is crucial at this point. We just have to keep building.”

The regular season, which starts tonight, will consist of 36 games and be followed by the standard playoff format.

The Skyforce were supposed to start the regular season on December 29, with a road contest with the Santa Cruz Warriors, followed by two home games with the Sea Dubs again on January 1 and 4. Make-up dates for the three contests are to be determined.

However, due to the flurry of NBA Call-Ups, the G League decided to push the season back a week so NBA and G League teams can replenish their rosters.

Sioux Falls has recently seen big man Micah Potter earn an NBA Call-Up to the Detroit Pistons, along with Knight. He averaged 14.1 points and 10.7 rebounds during the Showcase Cup.

Earlier in the season, Ja’Vonte Smart earned a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks after averaging 22 points per game.

“That’s what it is all about,” Powell said of the NBA Call-Up’s. “We are always happy for our guys to get opportunities to live out their dreams and show their hard work is paying off.”

The recent wave of call-up’s has many former NBA players returning from overseas to get another crack at the league, as well.

That is no different for newly acquired Skyforce center Earl Clark. Clark, a six-year NBA veteran, was a lottery pick in the 2009 NBA Draft to the Phoenix Suns. The team also acquired G League veteran Sam Thompson in addition to Clark.

“We felt like they were missing pieces to what we were trying to do,” Powell explained. “We have talent on our roster, but they are learning how to win. (Earl and Sam) have been in situations and know how to handle any and all of them. It speaks for itself.”

Sioux Falls will look to build off its three-point shooting, which their 35.6-percent shooting in the Showcase Cup was good for seventh in the G League.

“That is truly a credit to our spacing,” Powell noted. “We have moved the ball and been in the right place at the right time. We can carry that over if we continue to space the floor well.”

The Skyforce meet the Wolves for the third time in total in 2021-22, as they opened the Showcase Cup with a two-game road swing at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Wolves took both games, 115-100 in the first, and 129-125 in the last. However, Sioux Falls held double-digit leads in both games and leads in the second half.

“They played us very tough. They are physical and turned it on when the got down.” Powell said of the Wolves. “But we have grown a lot as a team and individually since then and I am excited to see our improvements.”

Tip-off is slated for 6:30 PM CST tonight (Thursday). The Skyforce will then hit the road for a three game road swing against Salt Lake City and Agua Caliente.

Season tickets, flex packs, and single game tickets are on sale now. Discounts and benefits are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, please contact a Skyforce representative by visiting the front office at 2131 S. Minnesota Avenue or by calling at (605) 332-0605.