Force in the NBA

By Matt Dykstra | April 12, 2018

Current NBA Players:

• Hassan Whiteside | Miami HEAT 

Hassan Whiteside has appeared in 52 games so far this season for the Miami HEAT, averaging 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 54.2 percent from the field. Whiteside has seen a decrease in minutes this season at just over 25 per game in comparison to his 32.6 per game a year ago.


• Tyler Johnson | Miami HEAT
Tyler Johnson has appeared in 70 games for the HEAT this season and has been asked to fill a number of roles, both coming off the bench and in the starting lineup. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and is shooting a career-best 81.9 percent from the free throw line.



• Rodney McGruder | Miami HEAT
Rodney McGruder missed a large portion of the season with injury, but has returned to appear in 16 games (one start) for the HEAT this season. McGruder’s averaging 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in just 17.5 minutes per game so far this year.


• Josh Richardson | Miami HEAT
Josh Richardson has both played and started in a career-high 79 games this season for the HEAT. He’s averaging 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 84.8 percent from the free throw line and 38.1 percent from long distance.



• Derrick Walton Jr. |  Miami HEAT
Miami HEAT two-way player Derrick Walton Jr. spent the majority of his season playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, but has still managed to appear in 16 games this season for the HEAT. Walton Jr. has averaged 1.8 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game included a career-high seven points in a win over the Dallas Mavericks on December 22, 2017.


• Derrick Jones Jr.|  Miami HEAT
Miami HEAT two-way player Derrick Jones Jr. has appeared in 19 NBA games this season between the Phoenix Suns and the Miami HEAT. He’s started eight of 13 games with the HEAT so far on the year after spending the majority of his time in the NBA G League with the Skyforce and the NAZ Suns. With the HEAT, he’s averaged 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in just over 16 minutes per contest.




• DeAndre Liggins | New Orleans Pelicans
DeAndre Liggins has appeared in 56 NBA games this season, beginning his year with the Milwaukee Bucks before being signed by the New Orleans Pelicans on January 10. In total, Liggins has averaged 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds while playing just under 13.0 minutes per game this season.


Torrey Craig | Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets two-way player Torrey Craig has been one of the most successful two-way players in the league both at the NBA G League and NBA levels. He’s now appeared in 37 games for the Nuggets (five starts) while averaging 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He’s become a regular role player off the bench as a rookie averaging 16.7 minutes per game.



• Malik Beasley | Denver Nuggets
After spending much of the 2016-17 season on assignment with the Skyforce, Malik Beasley has appeared in 62 games off the bench this season for the Denver Nuggets and has averaged 3.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in just under 10 minutes per game.


• Juancho Hernangomez | Denver Nuggets
Juancho Hernangomez, a former 15th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has appeared in just 25 games this season for the Nuggets (three starts) and has averaged 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Hernangomez appeared in just one game on assignment with the Skyforce last season, scoring 17 points and adding 11 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.



• Amir Johnson | Philadelphia 76ers
Amir Johnson, one of Sioux Falls’ first notable assignees, is now playing in his 13th NBA season for the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson has appeared in 72 games (16 starts) for the Sixers this season and has averaged 4.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.



• Khem Birch | Orlando Magic
Khem Birch has carved out a nice role for the Orlando Magic in what is his first NBA Season. He has appeared in 40 games this year while averaging 3.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists in just 13.2 minutes per game. On April 8, 2018 Birch tallied a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double in 21 minutes off the bench in a Magic loss.



• Shabazz Napier | Portland Trail Blazers
Shabazz Napier has been an impact player off the bench this season for the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s now appeared in 72 games (nine starts) and has averaged 8.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals in just under 21 minutes per game.


Erik McCree | Utah Jazz
Erik McCree began the season as an affiliate player sent to the Skyforce from the Miami HEAT. He played his way to a two-way contract with the Utah Jazz and is now available when called upon as the team approaches the playoffs. He’s appeared in just four NBA games this season and has averaged just under two minutes of playing time.



Okaro White | Cleveland Cavaliers
The 2016-17 Skyforce All-Star has been limited this season due to injury, but has found new life in Cleveland after signing a multi-year contract with the Cavaliers on April 7. White appeared in just six games (four starts) for the Miami HEAT this season, averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game prior to injury. He has yet to appear in a game for Cleveland.


Skyforce Players who also Appeared on NBA Rosters this Season:

Briante Weber | Houston Rockets | Memphis Grizzlies
Scotty Hopson | Dallas Mavericks
Matt Williams Jr. | Miami HEAT
Luis Montero | Detroit Pistons
Larry Drew II | Philadelphia 76ers | New Orleans Pelicans


Current NBA Coaches:

• Dan Craig | Assistant Coach | Miami HEAT

Dan Craig is now in his 15th season with the Miami HEAT, and his second as an Assistant Coach. After joining the HEAT organization in 2003 as a video intern, Craig has steadily worked his way up the ranks. He coached the 2015-16 Skyforce team to a 40-10 record and an NBA G League Championship before returning to his current position in the NBA.


• Chris Quinn | Assistant Coach/Player Development | Miami HEAT
After serving the Skyforce as an assistant coach to Phil Weber during the 2014-15 season, Quinn is now in his second season as an assistant coach and player development for the Miami HEAT.




• Octavio De La Grana | Assistant Coach/Player Development | Miami HEAT
Octavio De La Grana is now in his 12th year within the Miami HEAT organization. “Coach O” worked as a Player Development Coach and Director of Minor League Operations from 2013-16 as a part of the Skyforce coaching staff before moving back to the NBA club full-time for the last two seasons.


• Dave Joerger | Head Coach | Sacramento Kings
Dave Joerger is now in his second season as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Prior to joining the Kings, Joerger spent nine years with the Memphis Grizzlies serving as an assistant, and then as the head coach from 2013-16. Joerger coached the Skyforce to their second CBA Championship in 2005.



• Duane Ticknor | Assistant Coach| Sacramento Kings
Duane Ticknor, who followed Joerger from Memphis to Sacramento, is now in his second year as an assistant coach for the Kings. Prior to the movie, he had spent 2014-16 with the Memphis Grizzlies, and 2013 as the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Ticknor served as an assistant coach for the Skyforce from 2009-11.


• Nate Tibbetts | Assistant Coach | Portland Trail Blazers
Nate Tibbetts is now in his fifth season as an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers, having been an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2011-13. The South Dakota native previously served as the head coach to the Tulsa 66ers and the USA’s 2011 Pan America team, and served on the Skyforce coaching staff for four seasons between 2005 and 2009.



• Pat Delany | Assistant Coach | Charlotte Hornets
Pat Delaney is now in his fourth season as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets, joining the Hornets coaching staff after serving as the Head Coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce during the 2013-14 season. He coached the Skyforce to a 31-19 record. Prior to joining the Skyforce Delaney had spent 11 seasons with the Miami HEAT organization.


Current NBA Front Office Staff:

• Brandon Williams | Assistant General Manager |  Sacramento Kings
Former Skyforce player Brandon Williams is in his first year in the role of Assistant General Manager for the Sacramento Kings. He joined the kings after serving as the Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the Delaware 87ers for the Philadelphia 76ers and Delaware 87ers. Williams was a member of the 1996 CBA Championship team in Sioux Falls.