SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced today that the team has acquired former NBA G League MVP Jarnell Stokes via returning player rights. Forward Gerard Tarin was waived in completing the transaction.
Stokes last appeared in Sioux Falls during the 2015-16 season, where he averaged 20.6 points and 9.3 rebounds on his way to winning NBA G League MVP and leading the Skyforce to its first championship as a member of the G League. Stokes also won 2016 NBA G League Playoff MVP after averaging 21.1 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 72.6 percent from the field in seven playoff games. Stokes also was named All-NBA G League First Team that season to cap off a historic run.
Prior to joining the Skyforce in 2015, Stokes was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the fifth pick of the second round in the 2014 NBA Draft. His draft rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he would make his professional debut. Stokes appeared in 19 games with Memphis (two starts) during his rookie campaign, averaging 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in just 6.6 minutes per contest. Stokes also appeared in 23 games (14 starts) while on assignment with the Iowa Energy during the 2014-15 season, where he averaged 15.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
Memphis would then trade Stokes to the Miami HEAT during the 2015-16 season, where, in large part, he spent the first half of the season on assignment in Sioux Falls. On February 18, 2016, Stokes was traded from the HEAT to the New Orleans Pelicans and then subsequently waived before returning to the Skyforce as a returning player to finish the championship season.
Stokes signed a multi-year deal with the Denver Nuggets on September 7, 2016, and appeared to be carving out a role in the regular rotation before sustaining a stress fracture in his foot. The Nuggets waived Stokes on November 15, 2016, following his injury and Stokes became a free agent.
After sitting out the entire 2016-17 campaign, Stokes would return with both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Indiana Pacers during the 2017 NBA Summer Leagues in Orlando and Las Vegas, but would eventually sign overseas with the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls of the CBA. While there, Stokes averaged 25 points and 13.9 rebounds in 28 appearances off the bench.
Most recently, Stokes returned to sign a training camp deal with the Miami HEAT on August 27, 2018. Stokes appeared in three preseason games for the HEAT, averaging an efficient 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in just 11.2 minutes per game.
Stokes’ first chance to suit up for the Skyforce will come in tonight’s home matchup against the Texas Legends at 7:00 PM CT. Stokes will wear no. 9 for Sioux Falls this season.