It’s been well documented that Duncan Robinson and Derrick Jones Jr. highlight six former Skyforce players who are now getting their first taste of NBA Finals action as members of the Miami HEAT. Others include Chris Silva, KZ Okpala, Gabe Vincent and Kyle Alexander (all who appeared for the Skyforce during the 2019-20 season).
However, the connection between the Skyforce and the HEAT doesn’t end with the players on the court. Miami’s coaching staff also features FIVE former Skyforce coaches, all who made major impacts during their time (some shorter than others) spent in Sioux Falls.
The list includes HEAT Assistant Coach Dan Craig, Assistant Coach & Director of Player Development Chris Quinn, Assistant Coach & Player Development Coach Octavio De La Grana, Player Development Coach Anthony Carter, and Eric Glass, who is serving as a utility assistant in the bubble after coaching the Skyforce this season. Following is a brief breakdown of each coach’s involvement with the Skyforce in the past few years.
Eric Glass served as the head coach of the Skyforce during the 2019-20 season and had the team in line to make it’s first playoff appearance since 2016 prior to the season being shutdown due to COVID concerns. Glass and his Force team finished with a 22-20 record, but was one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs having won nine of its last 13 games.
After returning home and spending time with his family during both the NBA and NBA G League hiatus, Glass was invited into the bubble to serve as an additional assistant on the HEAT’s coaching staff throughout the remainder of the 2020 season and playoffs.
Dan Craig is one of the most remembered and well-known Skyforce coaches in history despite only spending one season at the helm for the franchise. While serving as head coach during the 2015-16 season, Craig led his Skyforce team to an NBA G League record 40 regular season wins before capturing the 2016 NBA G League Championship.
— Sioux Falls Skyforce (@SFSkyforce) April 28, 2016
Craig was named NBA G League Coach of the Year that season as the Force nearly swept the award podium, with then-General Manager Adam Simon winning Executive of the Year, Jarnell Stokes winning NBA G League MVP, and DeAndre Liggins winning NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year. It was a season Sioux Falls fans will not soon forget.
Craig rejoined the HEAT’s coaching staff the very next season, and has since worked his way up to his current role of lead Assistant Coach under Erik Spoelstra.
Octavio De La Grana
Octavio De La Grana served as an assistant coach within the Skyforce organization from 2013-16. Coach O, as he became known, served as a link between Miami and Sioux Falls player development programs and also operated as the HEAT’s liaison if and when players were assigned from the NBA to the G League.
— Sioux Falls Skyforce (@SFSkyforce) February 13, 2016
Like Craig, De La Grana moved back to a full-time role at the NBA level following the 2015-16 season and has served as an Assistant Coach and Player Development Coach ever since, where he mentors and develops HEAT players.
Anthony Carter spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Skyforce under then-Head Coach Nevada Smith. Carter put together a 13-year playing career after joining the HEAT as an undrafted free agent in 1999, and came back to the organization as an assistant in Sioux Falls between 2016-18.
OFFICIAL: Anthony Carter has joined our coaching staff as Player Development Coach! AC will be involved in all aspects of player development for the HEAT and implementing Miami’s player development and mentorship programs with the @SFSkyforce. https://t.co/Lsd0S9tOpK
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 21, 2018
Carter was excellent at developing young players during his time with the Skyforce, and has been asked to do the same each of the past two seasons as a Player Development Coach for the Miami HEAT.
Chris Quinn served as an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Skyforce under then-Head Coach Phil Weber during the 2014-15 season. It only took Quinn, another former HEAT player turned coach, one season in Sioux Falls for his talent of developing players to be recognized.
Chris Quinn will lead the #HEATSummerLeague squad this season
"This is not something we take lightly. Everyone on our roster is important." pic.twitter.com/2NIr87r3fs
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) June 28, 2017
Miami quickly called Quinn up to their coaching ranks in advance of the 2015-16 season and he has since worked his way up to Assistant Coach and Director of Player Development, a role he has carried for each of the last four seasons. He also served as Head Coach of the HEAT’s Summer League team in 2017.