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By Sioux Falls Skyforce Staff /April 18, 2023

As the 2023 NBA Playoffs are underway, we look at 10 former Skyforce players (two honorable mention) in their search for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. There are currently 12 former players and eight coaches in seven different organizations throughout the NBA Playoffs with Skyforce ties. Of the 20 alumni, 12 are currently with the Miami HEAT.


Gabe Vincent is the prime example of the Miami HEAT player development program. The former two-way player for the Skyforce has solidified himself in either the starting lineup, or a reserve role for head coach Eric Spoelstra.

During the 2019-20 season, Vincent appeared in 11 games with the Skyforce, averaging 16.4 points per game and guiding the Force to a 9-2 record in that span. Vincent was later awarded NBA G League Most Improved Player honors (first ever recipient in Skyforce history) for his efforts. He would go on to play the 2020-21 season on a two-way contract, as well, before signing a multi-year deal with the HEAT.

In 68 games this season, Vincent averaged 9.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting, 2.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per 25.9 minutes a game.

He came up big in the first-round victory over the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon, as he had 15 points on 5-6 FGA (team-high 4-5 3PA), six assists and two rebounds in a starting role.


Robinson is the most prolific and widely known Skyforce alumni on this list, as his improbable journey from DIII to DI and the G League led him to a multi-year contract with the HEAT and now five years of NBA service.

He earned NBA G League All-Rookie Team, All-NBA G League Third Team and Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference Team honors in 2018-19 with the Force. Robinson averaged 21.4 points on 51.4 percent shooting (48.3 percent from deep), 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per 36.9 minutes a game.

In 42 appearances this season (one start), Robinson averaged 6.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per 16.5 minutes a game.

Robinson has valuable NBA playoff experience, as he was a key member of the HEAT team that went all the way to the brink of the NBA Finals in 2019-20. He has 39 career playoff appearances for Coach Spo and company.


Yurtseven made his Skyforce debut in the beginning of March, as he was assigned as part of his rehabilitation.

In two games for the Force, he averaged 27.5 points on 48.9 percent shooting, 13.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steal per 36.0 minutes.

He would go on to play nine games for the Miami HEAT after his assignment was done, averaging 4.4 points on 59.3 percent shooting and 2.6 rebounds per 9.2 minutes a game.

The highly talented and versatile big man via Turkey has a lot of potential in his game, and he put that on display in his short stint in Sioux Falls this season.  


Nikola JoviĆ was the first HEAT draft pick since Josh Richardson in 2015-16 to be assigned to the Skyforce. 

The 27th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft helped push the Skyforce to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. In seven regular season games for Sioux Falls, Niko averaged 12.4 points on 46.7 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per 23.8 minutes a game.

The Serbian product appeared in 15 games for the HEAT this season (eight starts) and averaged 5.5 points on 40.6 percent shooting, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists per 13.6 minutes a game.

At only 19 years old, the sky is the limit for Jovic, as he flashed major potential of his playmaking, shooting and defensive skills throughout the season for the Force.


“Big O” put together one of the more dominate seasons in the G League era for the Skyforce this season.

During the Showcase Cup, he averaged 22.8 points on 55.6 percent shooting, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per 32.3 minutes a game and broke a G League era franchise record with eight consecutive double doubles.

His play earned him multiple NBA Call-Ups with the Miami HEAT, as he appeared in 31 games (one start) for Miami this season and averaged 3.7 points on 52.8 percent shooting and 4.1 rebounds per 13.7 minutes a game.

Robinson returned to Sioux Falls only to go 8-1 in the nine games he played in and helped the team make the Western Conference Finals.


Cain, like Robinson, went from training camp invite at the 2022 NBA Summer League to earning a two-way spot with the HEAT. Cain inked his deal during training camp and never looked back, as he spent the whole season on the two-way deal.

In 25 total games with the Force this season between the Showcase Cup and regular season, Cain averaged 20.5 points on 65.6 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per 32.7 minutes a game.

Sioux Falls boasted a 20-5 record this season when Cain was on the floor and his improvement was incremental to the Force’s success this season.


From Sioux Falls to starting on a team many experts picked to represent the Western Conference Finals in the NBA Playoffs. Talk about a true G League journey.

In 15 games (12 starts) with the Skyforce during the 2017-18 season, Torrey Craig went on a tear. He averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per contest while donning a Skyforce uniform.

Craig, who has five years of NBA service, has played for four NBA teams in his career since playing for the Force, but made his way as a solid ‘3 and D’ performer for the Phoenix Suns this season, in what is his second stint with the organization. 

In 79 appearances (60 starts), he has averaged 7.4 points on 45.6 percent shooting (career-high 39.5 percent from deep), 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per 24.7 minutes a game.

Craig showed out in the opening game of the First Round against the LA Clippers, scoring 22 points on 9-12 FGA (2-4 3PA) and added four rebounds. He looks to be a key part of the Kevin Durant and Devin Booker led Suns for the future.


Beasley, like Craig, went from Sioux Falls to playing key minutes next in the NBA Playoffs next to future NBA Hall of Famers in LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the LA Lakers.

Skyforce fans still remember Beasley scoring at a high clip in 2016-17 on Heritage Court, as he delivered 18.9 points on 45.8-percent shooting and added 7.6 rebounds per game.

Beasley, who has played six years in the NBA since, is on his fourth team in the Lakers after being traded at the deadline from the Utah Jazz.

In 81 games this season (27 starts), Beasley averaged 12.7 points on 39.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per 25.8 minutes a game.

Since March 19, the Lakers are 11-2 and are just the second team to make the playoffs since starting 2-10. A large part of that success can be accredited to the trade that sent Beasley, D’Angelo Russell, and Jarred Vanderbilt to the team. The seventh seeded Lakers have a 1-0 lead on the Memphis Grizzlies and could make some serious noise in the playoffs this season.


Champagnie was arguably one of the biggest midseason acquisitions in all the NBA G League this season and his play not only helped the Force make the Western Conference Finals, but also earned him a contract with the Boston Celtics.

Simply put, Champagnie impacted winning. He provided grit and toughness and proved to be the missing piece to a well-rounded team.

JC averaged 18.2 points on 52.0 percent shooting, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist per 31.3 minutes a game in 23 appearances this season. He netted two of the top four scoring outputs this season, with a team-high 43 points on Feb. 13 against the Salt Lake City Stars.

Champagnie fits what NBA teams are looking for: size, the ability to score in the flow, tenacious rebounding on both sides of the ball and effort on the defensive side of the ball. It was only a matter of time before NBA teams saw what Skyforce fans got to see night-in and night-out from JC.

DRU SMITH | GUARD (2021-23)

Not many players can say they came off a season ending injury a better player the next season. Smith ended the 2021-22 season with the Force early but showed potential throughout.

So much that he was a late addition to the HEAT’s 2022 NBA Summer League roster and played so well that he earned an invite back to training camp after spending the 2021-22 season as an affiliate player with Sioux Falls.

He impressed out the gates and was awarded a two-way contract with Miami, where he would play the majority of the Showcase Cup on that deal.

In 15 games (13 starts) for Sioux Falls this season, he averaged 17.8 points on 48.5 percent shooting, 5.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals per 33.8 minutes a game. He spent less than a month strictly with Sioux Falls before being called up to the Brooklyn Nets on a two-way deal and was a pivotal piece in the Long Island Nets’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Smith provides stability and a high basketball IQ at a premium at the guard position. With a full offseason healthy, Dru will only improve his stock ahead of the 2023-24 season.

MAX STRUS | GUARD (2020-21)

Despite not playing a game for the Skyforce, Strus has made himself a household name among Miami HEAT fans.

The 2020-21 two-way player would have been rostered with the Skyforce if the team played in the 2021 NBA G League Bubble and is an honorable mention for Skyforce alumni in the NBA Playoffs.

In 80 games this season (33 starts), Strus has averaged 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per 28.4 minutes a game. He saved his best performance for the do-or-die final Play-In game, as his 31 points on 7-12 3PA and six rebounds helped push the HEAT into the playoffs on Friday against his hometown Chicago Bulls.

CALEB MARTIN | (2021-22)

Martin (like Strus) was rostered as a two-way player for the HEAT and Skyforce but didn’t suit up in a game for Sioux Falls. His impact was felt immediately in the two-way role with the HEAT and is also listed as an honorable mention on this list.

He averaged 9.2 points on 50.7 percent shooing, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per 22.9 minutes in 60 games (12 starts) as a two-way player in 2021-22.

Martin played in 71 games (49 starts) this season on a standard deal and averaged 9.6 points on 46.4 percent shooting, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per 29.3 minutes a game. He put together 15 points on 5-7 FGA and three rebounds in the 130-117 First Round victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.