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SKYFORCE IN THE NBA: CHECK-IN ON ALUMNI

By Nick Robinson | December 27, 2021

As the second half of the 2021-22 NBA season looms, we look at 28 Skyforce alumni making their way in the league. There are currently 16 former players, four rostered players and eight coaches in 14 different organizations throughout the NBA with Skyforce ties. Eight players are taking advantage of 10-day contracts due to the hardship exception due to COVID-19.

Players:

TYLER JOHNSON | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2014-15)

Tyler Johnson, a Skyforce fan favorite, began his professional career by appearing in 15 games  for the Skyforce during the 2014-15 season. Johnson averaged 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on his way to earning a call-up and ensuing multi-year contract from the Miami HEAT.

He went on to spend the majority of his first five seasons with Miami before ultimately being dealt to the Phoenix Suns during the 2018-19 season, where he played until being released shortly before signing with the Brooklyn Nets for two years.

Johnson is back in the NBA after playing in 39 games for the Nets a season ago. He signed a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers on December 22.

Since signing with the 76ers, Johnson has played in two games, with his most recent being a 117-96 victory over the Washington Wizards, where he netted five points and had two rebounds and assists. Look for the seven-year NBA veteran to continue to play his role, as he looks to mount an NBA comeback.

SCOTTY HOPSON | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2014-15)

It’s been over three years, but Scotty is making his third stint in the NBA, as he signed a hardship 10-day with the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 27.

Hopson has played for the OKC Blue on two different occasions, 2019-20 and 2021-22. He is averaging 6.4 points on 41.3 percent shooting, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 11 games (four starts) for the Blue this season.

Hopson was a walking bucket for the Skyforce in 2014-15, averaging 19.2 points on 52.8 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 43 games (35 starts). He continued his offensive outpour with 26.7 points on 56.1 percent shooting, 3 rebounds and 4.3 assists in three playoff games for Sioux Falls.

KHEM BIRCH | SKYFORCE FORWARD (2014-15)

The third played in the NBA from the 2014-15 team was a walking double double for the Skyforce. He averaged 11.2 points on 63.5 percent shooting and 9.5 rebounds that season. He had 16 double doubles in 49 (33 starts) games for Sioux Falls. Birch went on a tear down the stretch, where he had 10-plus rebounds in 13-of-15 games.

After the stint with the Skyforce and a year overseas, Birch signed with the Orlando Magic ahead of the 2017-18 season, as he appeared in a combined 62 games between the Orlando and Lakeland Magic that season. Birch spent until the end of the 2020-21 season with the Magic, and then signed with the Toronto Raptors in April 2021. He saw a career-high 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Raptors, which led to a multi-year deal with the club.

Birch continues to do the dirty work off the bench for Toronto, as he’s averaging 6.8 points on 52.9 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per 22.5 minutes a game. He has played in 17 games (four starts) for the Raptors this season.

JOSH RICHARDSON | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2015-16)

Josh Richardson totaled just four appearances during the 2015-16 season for the Skyforce, while on assignment from the Miami HEAT. In his four starts, though, Richardson averaged 23.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.75 assists and 2.5 steals per contest, helping the Skyforce to four-straight victories during the NBA G League showcase and ensuing west-coast road trip.

Richardson continues his steady pace he’s had throughout his seven-year NBA career in 2021-22 with the Boston Celtics after spending time with the HEAT, Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks. This season marks the first with the Celtics, as he is helping the squad in the thick of the NBA Playoffs race.

He is on pace to post 10-plus points for the sixth-straight season. He is coming off a hot stretch of games as a pivotal member of the Celtics bench, where he posted 27 points on 9-14 FGA, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in a 114-107 victory over the New York Knicks. Richardson boasted 15-plus points in his last three games played before entering the league’s health and safety protocols.

MALIK BEASLEY | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2016-17)

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. He appeared in 22 games for the Denver Nuggets that season and spent the next two and-a-half seasons with them before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then signed a four-year, $60 million dollar contract ahead of the 2020-21 season with the Timberwolves.

With his steady shooting off the bench, Beasley is a contributing force to helping guide the Timberwolves back to the NBA Playoffs for just the second time since 2003-04. Coming off a career year last season scoring, Beasley has found his footing yet again this season.

Beasley (12.3 points on 37.8-percent shooting) is on pace to average over 10-plus points for the fourth-straight year. He is coming off a four-game tear before entering the league’s health and safety protocols, as he has 13-plus points each of those games, with the latter being a 33-point outburst on December 23 in a 128-16 loss to the Utah Jazz. Look for the top scoring threat off the Wolves bench to continue to give a spark when needed.

TORREY CRAIG | FORMER SKYFORCE FORWARD (2017-18)

In 15 games with the Skyforce (12 starts) during the 2017-18 season, however, Craig’s numbers did the talking for him. 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.

Since then, Craig carved out a successful reserve role for a competitive Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns team over the last few seasons prior to joining the Indiana Pacers ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Craig (5.2 points and 3.19 rebounds in 31 appearances in 21-22) posted a season-high 28 points on 9-16 FGA and 11 rebounds on October 29 in a 105-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.  He has posted five games of double figures scoring this season so far, along with one double double.

DERRICK JONES JR. | FORMER SKYFORCE FORWARD (2017-18)

Jones Jr. appeared in 13 games for the Skyforce (11 starts) under two-way contract with the Miami HEAT during the 2017-18 season. His time in Sioux Falls featured significant boosts in his offensive numbers across the board as he averaged career-highs with 19.2 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting over 35 percent form beyond the arc.

Despite his short tenure in Sioux Falls, Jones Jr. still stands as a fan favorite to many after providing some of the most prolific highlights in recent history. The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk contest has continued to impress no matter what uniform he’s wearing since then, known league-wide as one of the best in-game dunkers around.

After spending 2018-20 with the HEAT, Jones Jr. left for the Portland Trailblazers in free agency, where he averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds. He was traded to the Chicago Bulls on August 28 and has appeared in 23 games (two starts) for the Bulls this season. He has been a defensive anchor for the Bulls this season and has helped with the team’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference standings (number-two, 20-10 record). He posted a season-high 16 points on 5-8 FGA in 23 minutes on November 19 in a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

As the Bulls continue to play efficient basketball under Billy Donovan, Jones Jr. will continue to play steady and be a force on the defensive end.

DERRICK WALTON, JR. | SKYFORCE GUARD (2017-18)

Walton, Jr. got one of the best Christmas presents a pro basketball player could ask for – a contract in the NBA. He signed a 10-day hardship with the Detroit Pistons on December 25 after spending the beginning of the 2021-22 season with the Motor City Cruise.

He has appeared in one game so far for the Pistons, posting 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes of work against the San Antonio Spurs on December 26. For the Cruise in 2021 G League Showcase Cup, Walton Jr. 13.6 points on 41.6 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 12 games.

That consistency and even-keeled play is nothing new to Skyforce fans, as Walton Jr. averaged 16.2 points on 44.2 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 7 assists in 27 starts for Sioux Falls.

DUNCAN ROBINSON | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2018-19)

The most prolific and widely known Skyforce alumni continued his improbable journey during the offseason, as he signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the HEAT in August. The deal was the largest commitment to an undrafted player in NBA history. Rightfully so, as Robinson provides so much beyond shooting the deep ball for Miami.

Skyforce fans shouldn’t be surprised by that contract, as Robinson lit up the G League and set a franchise record with 152-made three-pointers during the 2018-19 season in just 33 games played, shooting over 48 percent from three-point range in the process.

Robinson took off where he left off in Sioux Falls, as his play in 2019-20 helped the HEAT make a run at the NBA Finals. He continued his efficient play in 2020-21, where he posted back-to-back seasons of 13-plus points and 40-plus-percent shooting from beyond the arc.

The steady wing is averaging 11.2 points on 37.2 percent shooting this season for the HEAT this season. He is coming off two games in the month of December where he scored 26 points and had five-plus three pointers made in both contests.

EMANUEL TERRY | FORMER SKYFORCE FORWARD (2018-19)

“ET” was well-known for his electric play in the 2018-19 season, as he made an immediate impact, earning two call-ups during the 2018-19 season. He was apart of the trade early in the season that sent Malik Newman to the Canton Charge.

The Phoenix Suns are a familiar spot for Terry, as his 10-day signing on December 27 marks his second stint with the organization. He played in two games and averaged 4.5 points and 3 rebounds for the Suns in his first NBA Call-Up in 2018-19, followed by a one-game Call-Up to the HEAT. He posted 1 point and 1 rebound in the contest for Miami.

Terry recently impressed NBA scouts, as he has scored in double figures in five-of-six games, while posting 18 points on 9-15 FGA and 21 rebounds in a loss to the Skyforce in the 2021 NBA G League Winter Showcase on December 22.

GABE VINCENT | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2019-20)

Gabe Vincent has made the most of a crazy 2021-22 season. The former two-way player for the Miami HEAT has solidified himself as the back-up point guard this season and has played crucial minutes in crunch time for the team while they deal with injuries and health and safety protocols.

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 for his efforts that season. He spent the 2020-21 season on a two-way contract again, doubling down on his selfless play, appearing in 50 games while averaging 4.8 points, 1.3 assists and 1.1 rebounds per contest.

Vincent is boasting career-high numbers this season, posting 8.6 points on 43.9 percent shooting, three assists and two rebounds (all of which are career-highs) and is helping keep the HEAT in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race (21-13, fourth place in the East). Recently, he has posted 13-plus points in five-of-six outings. On December 15, Vincent dropped 26 points on 7-12 3PA in a 101-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. He followed that up with a career-high 27 points on 10-20 FGA in a 115-105 victory over the Orlando Magic on December 17.

KZ OKPALA | FORMER SKYFORCE FORWARD (2019-20)

The Miami HEAT drafted KZ Okpala as a “project” in 2019 and he’s shown the ability to continuously improve over the course of his young career. As a rookie during the 2019-20 season, Okpala appeared in 20 games (20 starts) for the Skyforce while on assignment from the Miami HEAT. Okpala averaged 11.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest, and appeared to be hitting his stride just as the season was cut short.

That development carried over into the 2020-21 season with the HEAT as Okpala appeared in 37 games (nine starts) for Miami during his sophomore season. Though he averaged just 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds on the year, he finished his campaign on a high note, scoring a career-high 17 points (6-9 FG) and adding five rebounds in Sunday night’s regular season finale in Detroit.

Okpala is another member of the HEAT making the most of his extended playing time due to injuries and the league’s health and safety protocols. He has appeared in 20 games in 2021-22, averaging 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds. He also posted a season-high 16 points on 7-9 FGA in a 125-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers on December 21.

MAX STRUS | HEAT-TWO WAY GUARD (2020-21)

Despite not playing a game for the Skyforce, Strus has made himself a household name for 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. Strus has paired with Vincent to be a highly efficient one-two punch off the bench, but more recently in the starting lineup.

Strus appeared in 39 games last season for the HEAT, averaging 6.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game. He, like Vincent, is making critical steps during his extended minutes this season. He has leaped to 10.9 points on 46.2 percent shooting, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game so far this season. In his last five games, Strus has scored 13-plus points in each outing, with point logs of: 13, 26, 18, 24 and 32 (career-high on 11-15 FGA).

Look for Strus as the season goes on to continue to make the most of the minutes given and potentially etch out even more of a role.

MYCHAL MULDER | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2019-20)

Skyforce fans will remember Mulder as the one who took the torch from Duncan Robinson in terms of shooting the deep ball. He was on pace to snap Robinson’s year-old record for three-pointers made in a single season (152) before a call-up to the Golden State Warriors ended his 2019-20 NBA G League season a bit earlier than the rest of his teammates. Mulder ultimately ended the season with 151 three-pointers made, good enough for second place on the all-time single-season list, in just 39 games played (34 starts).

In total, Mulder averaged 17.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest during his Skyforce tenure, a large reason for the Force’s late-season success under the guidance of then-head coach Eric Glass. Mulder’s success didn’t go unnoticed as he earned the first NBA call-up of his career (to the Warriors) and he hasn’t looked back. A lethal three-point shooter, Mulder has carved out a role in the reserve unit for the Warriors last year.

Mulder signed a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic ahead of the 2021-22 season. He has appeared in 15 games (two starts) for Orlando this season, averaging 3.7 points on 30 percent shooting and 1.4 rebounds per game. He posted back-to-back games of 13 points, where he combined to shoot 9-23 FGA in losses to the Milwaukee Bucks (November 20 and 22)

CHRIS SILVA | FORMER SKYFORCE FORWARD (2019-20)

Despite having the shortest tenure of any Skyforce player on this list (two games), Silva is remembered by HEAT and Skyforce fans as a tenacious defender with high energy on both ends of the court.

He played in 44 games for the HEAT on a two-way contract in 2019-20, averaging 3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game. He then appeared in four games for the Sacramento Kings in 2020-21 before joining the Minnesota Timberwolves for training camp in 2021-22.

He averaged 15.1 points on 57.8 percent shooting, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists for the Iowa Wolves before earning a hardship 10-day contract with the Timberwolves on December 21. Silva has yet to appear for the Timberwolves on his 10-day contract but look for him to play key minutes with Karl-Anthony Towns out due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

DAVON REED | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2019-20)

Reed is well on his way to landing a full-time gig with an NBA team after his most recent hardship 10-day (December 19) with the Denver Nuggets.

The Miami (FL) alumnus started all 40 games for the Force in 2019-20, as he was a solid player all around. He averaged 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

In 2021-22, Reed has posted a G League career-year, as he has averaged 15.1 points on 46.5 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 6 assists for the Grand Rapids Gold, which helped put him on their affiliates radar.

In two different 10-day contracts, Reed has appeared in eight games (two starts) for the Nuggets, averaging 5.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He most recently tag teamed with reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic in a 103-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on December 26, as Reed posted a very efficient 15 points on 6-8 FGA and 3-4 3PA in 26 minutes.

CALEB MARTIN | HEAT TWO-WAY FORWARD (2021-22)

Martin, despite being rostered for the Skyforce, hasn’t stepped foot in Sioux Falls this season. That’s because of his early impact on the HEAT.

He has already appeared in 24 games (two starts) for Miami this season, averaging a career-high 8 points on 50 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists. Martin posted a career-high 28 points on 9-12 FGA, eight rebounds and three assists in a crucial victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on December 8. After missing time due to the league’s health and safety protocol, Martin took off where he left off, scoring 17 points on 7-11 FGA and five rebounds in a victory over the Orland Magic on December 26.

Martin will continue to play a big role for Miami, despite being a two-way player.

MARCUS GARRETT | HEAT TWO-WAY GUARD (2021-22)

Marcus Garrett can do a little bit of everything. The wing out of Kansas is averaging 12.4 points on 40.6 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists in eight games for the Skyforce this season.

Garrett notched the first triple-double (14 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals) for Sioux Falls in over five seasons against the Grand Rapids Gold on November 11.

He is averaging 1.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 0.4 steals for the HEAT in 12 appearances this season. It goes beyond the numbers for Garrett, as he is able to guard one-through-four on the court and rebounds the ball at a high efficiency for a guard.

JAVONTE SMART | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2021-22)

Although his stint was short, the impact he made was high. Smart averaged 22 points on 48.7 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in five games for the Skyforce to start this season.

He scored 13-plus points in each game this season before earning a two-way with the Milwaukee Bucks on November 30.  His latest two outbursts (36 points on 13-20 FGA on November 13 and 25 points on 9-17 FGA on November 27) helped secure his spot on an NBA roster.

Since joining the Bucks, he has strictly worked with Milwaukee, as he’s appeared in 10 games (one start) in the month of December, averaging 3.1 points on 39 percent shooting and quickly learning the Bucks’ style.

BRANDON KNIGHT | SKYFORCE GUARD (2021-22)

After a year-and-a-half away from the NBA, Brandon Knight is back. The nine-year NBA veteran signed a hardship 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks on December 23.

The guard is averaging 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in two games so far for Dallas. Knight piled in 10 points on 2-3 3PA, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 20 minutes on Christmas night against the Utah Jazz. He showed why he is a first round talent on December 27, as he poured in 18 points on 6-12 FGA, five assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes in a 132-117 victory over the Portland Trailblazers.

Knight has been the engine for the Sioux Falls offense this season, posting a team-high 21.3 points on 39.3 percent shooting, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists. His 25 points on 7-19 FGA and 5 assist outing in the 2021 NBA G League Winter Showcase game in the victory against the Stockton Kings proved to be enough to get the call from Dallas.

MICAH POTTER | SKYFORCE FORWARD (2021-22)

The big man out of Wisconsin is the latest Skyforce player/alumni to get a Call-Up to the NBA, as he signed on December 29 with the Detroit Pistons.

Potter has posted 14.4 points on 44.1 percent shooting, 10.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 11 games (11 starts) for the Skyforce in the 2021 Showcase Cup. He also led the team with four double doubles during the Cup, as well.

Detroit is very familiar with Potter, as he posted 28 points on 11-19 FGA (3-5 3PA) and 15 rebounds against the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, on December 7.

Coaches:

DAVE JOERGER | FORMER SKYFORCE HEAD COACH (2004-05)

After a glorious run throughout the 1990s, the Skyforce organization, as well as the CBA, found itself slipping during the early 2000s for several reasons. That changed for Sioux Falls when Dave Joerger stepped in as Head Coach prior to the 2004-05 season. In two seasons at the helm with the Force, Joerger led the franchise to a 61-35 regular season record and a 12-4 record in the CBA playoffs, including a CBA Championship in 2005.

Joerger was on to bigger and better things not long after his tenure with the Force ended in 2006. After a brief stint with the Dakota Wizards, Joerger joined the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach in 2007 where he later earned his first opportunity to head coach in the NBA from 2013-16. After a Grizzlies fall-out in 2016, Joerger was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings from 2016-19.

Currently, Joerger serves as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 2021-22 season marks the second for Joerger in Philadelphia, as he is hoping to help the 76ers reach the playoffs yet again this season.

NATE TIBBETTS | FORMER SKYFORCE HEAD COACH (2007-09)

It’s only a matter of time before Nate Tibbetts lands himself a head coaching position in the NBA after having spent the last eight seasons within the Portland Trail Blazers’ system and now with the Orlando Magic. This marks his first season with the Magic.

Tibbetts served as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2011-13 after having spent two seasons as the Head Coach of the then-named Tulsa 66ers (Oklahoma City Thunder’s G League affiliate), where he guided the team to a 64-41 overall record and two straight trips to the NBA G League playoffs.

Tibbetts’s success in the NBA G League began in Sioux Falls, though, where he got his first professional Head Coaching opportunity from 2007-09 after having spent his first two seasons with the franchise as an assistant. Tibbetts was well-respected by his players and staff during his tenure as Head Coach in Sioux Falls, none more vocal about his impact than former NBA G League MVP and Skyforce Head Coach Kasib Powell.

“Coach Tibbetts taught me how to be a true professional when I came to Sioux Falls,” Powell said. “We had a lot of conversations about how I should be dressing, how I needed to be acting both on and off the court…watching film and preparing for games. He had a lot of confidence in me. It meant a lot for me at that point in my career.”

Tibbetts was a former standout player at the University of South Dakota before his coaching journey began and got his first crack at coaching as an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls from 2001-05 prior to joining the Skyforce staff.

OCTAVIO DE LA GRANA | FORMER SKYFORCE ASSISTANT COACH (2013-16)

Octavio De La Grana, or “Coach O”, as many in the organization call him, has long been regarded as one of the best player developers within the Miami HEAT system. He was tasked with serving as an assistant coach in Sioux Falls during the early stages of the HEAT’s single-affiliation partnership with the Force between 2013-16.

Coach O served as the common link between Miami and Sioux Falls development programs, ensuring the same “HEAT Culture” was instilled early in the Skyforce system as well. His mission was successful, culminating in a 2016 NBA G League Championship alongside then-Head Coach Dan Craig before both returned to the Miami HEAT coaching staff on a full-time basis. Coach O has remained in his Player Development role with the HEAT ever since.

CHRIS QUINN | FORMER SKYFORCE ASSISTANT COACH (2014-15)

Chris Quinn served as an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Skyforce under then-Head Coach Phil Weber during the 2014-15 season, a team and staff that finished with a 29-21 record on the year.

It only took Quinn, a former HEAT player turned coach, one season in Sioux Falls to display his talent for developing players. Miami quickly moved him down to South Beach, where he’s been since the start of the 2015-16 season under Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.

Now in his seventh season as a member of the HEAT coaching staff, Quinn has worked his way up to one of the lead assistant coaching positions and has become an asset to the coaching group.

DAN CRAIG | FORMER SKYFORCE HEAD COACH (2015-16)

Dan Craig put together not just the greatest season in Skyforce franchise history, but one of the greatest single seasons in NBA G League history, as well, when he led his team to a 40-10 regular season record before nearly sweeping his way to an NBA G League Title during the 2015-16 season.

Craig rightfully won NBA G League Coach of the Year honors for his efforts that season and was a big reason why then-Skyforce GM Adam Simon was awarded G League Executive of the Year, along with players DeAndre Liggins and Jarnell Stokes winning G League Defensive Player of the Year and G League MVP respectively. His team not only nearly ran the table in overall record and playoff victories…it nearly ran the table with the G League awards as well.

Craig was quickly pulled back to the NBA coaching ranks where he served as an Assistant Coach under Erik Spoelstra with the Miami HEAT until the summer of 2020, when another opportunity called. Craig took a leap and joined the Los Angeles Clippers as Associate Head Coach to Head Coach Tyronn Lue.

The Clippers seem bound for yet another deep run in the Western Conference. There’s no shortage of championship pedigree amongst the coaches that the organization brought in to lead its star-studded roster. The only thing left to do is win.

ANTHONY CARTER | FORMER SKYFORCE ASSISTANT COACH (2016-18)

After two seasons as an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Anthony Carter jumped at an opportunity to become a Player Development Coach for the Miami HEAT prior to the 2018-19 season and has been with the NBA club since.

It didn’t take Carter long to establish himself as one of the best player development coaches around during his time with the Skyforce, and the HEAT wasted no time in snatching him up (as they so often do with young coaches who show promise). Carter’s 13-year playing career boosts his credibility with any young player coming into the league, and he’s become a staple on the HEAT bench now in his fourth season since making the leap.

ERIC GLASS | FORMER SKYFORCE HEAD COACH (2019-20)

Miami HEAT assistant coach Eric Glass marks the most recent departure among former Skyforce coaches, having served as Skyforce Head Coach during the 2019-20 season prior to the league’s early shut-down due to Covid-19. Glass and his Force roster had hit their stride at just the right time, representing one of the league’s best times early in 2020 before the season was cut short.

Glass had Sioux Falls in position to make the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2016 NBA G League Championship, which would have been a breath of fresh air for players, staff and fans who have become used to “championship basketball” over the last three decades.

Now, Glass serves as a player development coach within the HEAT system, becoming the next of many great Skyforce coaches to re-join the HEAT bench following a strong stint in the NBA G League. The 2021-22 season marks his second in his role.

JARRETT JACK | FORMER SKYFORCE GUARD (2018-20)

There was no shock within the basketball community when Jarrett Jack joined Monty Williams staff for the Phoenix Suns ahead of the 2021-22 season. Jack, who is in his first-year coaching, played 13 years in the NBA and three in the NBA G League before turning his attention to the sideline.

In his two seasons with the Skyforce, Jack was the ultimate pro, and a coach on the court. Jack played in one game in 2018-19 for Sioux Falls, scoring 21 points on 52.9 percent shooting and added seven assists before getting injured and had to miss the remainder of the season. He came back with vengeance in 2019-20, averaging 15.6 points on 51.7 percent shooting, five assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. He scored 20-plus points in seven-of-his-last-nine games in a Skyforce uniform, helping put the Skyforce in position for a playoff run and himself for a potential NBA Call-Up. He played for the inaugural G League Ignite team in the 2020-21 G League Bubble in Atlanta, Georgia as the team’s veteran presence and quarterback on the floor.

Being a player and person of his caliber, Jack has glided in his role with the Suns, as the team boasts a 26-6 record, good for second in the Western Conference. Look for Jack to continue to move up the ranks in coaching.