Skyforce Locked and Loaded ahead of West Coast Road Trip

By Matt Dykstra | February 23, 2018

The Sioux Falls Skyforce visit Los Angeles this weekend with as much firepower as they’ve had all season, even without Larry Drew II and Alonzo Gee, who are both representing USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. With Miami HEAT two-way players Derrick Walton Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. staying put for now, Jimmie Taylor coming back from injury and the temporary return of Rodney McGruder, the Skyforce are primed and ready for must-win west coast road games.

McGruder’s return will likely be a short one, as he will join the team in Los Angeles on a rehab assignment from the Miami HEAT before heading back to the parent club. McGruder averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Skyforce during the 2015-16 season, leading the team to the 2016 NBA G League Championship. A year ago, McGruder made the HEAT roster as a training camp player, and proceeded to start 65 of 78 games played as a rookie. He averaged 6.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists while earning the nickname “The Scavenger” for his tenacious and scrappy play.

Skyforce fans have had the opportunity to watch McGruder grow from an average NBA G League player, to an impact player on a championship-winning team, to a key contributor at the NBA level. McGruder serves as the perfect example of what hard work and perseverance can do for young players in the league, and now fans will get to see him suit up for the Skyforce one last time before he returns to the NBA.

With a probable starting lineup of Derrick Walton Jr., Briante Weber, Rodney McGruder, Derrick Jones Jr. and Kadeem Jack, the Skyforce feature a defensive-minded rotation that can also put up a lot of points. With the likes of Ike Nwamu, Tony Mitchell, Jimmie Taylor, Matt Williams Jr. and Bubu Palo coming off the bench, the Force are deeper than they’ve been all season, and will look to continue their perfect record in the month of February.