Sioux Falls, SD – When you normally think of the NBA G League, it’s thought of as a place to develop young and new talent that is looking to fulfill childhood dreams of making it to the NBA.
But it’s not just that.
It’s also a place where established NBA veterans can come to help get their feet under them before taking the next steps of getting back on the court.
On Wednesday night, the Miami HEAT assigned two-time NBA All-Star Victor Oladpio to the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the next step of his rehab.
“It feels good to be able to play the game I love,” Oladipo said after Skyforce practice on Wednesday. “You go through stuff in life, and you have to battle. I’ve gone through this twice, so I know how to prep mentally. But each time is new, and those challenges arise, and you have to adapt.”
Skyforce Head Coach Kasib Powell, who helped coach the HEAT in training camp this season raved about the opportunity to have Oladipo here, not only for the organization, but for the G League, as well.
“Anytime we can help an NBA player get back to the court, we will do it," he said. "That, and developing players is what this league is all about. We are happy to be able to be a part of that process to help Victor get back on the court.”
Oladipo was able to get five-on-five work in with the Skyforce and reflected on what that meant to him.
“It is a whirlwind of emotions," he said. "As a competitor, you want to play a certain way but it’s about winning the small battles and I won that today. I am just thankful to keep building.”
He also has a unique approach to being in the G League for a couple days and spending time in Sioux Falls.
“Going new places and experiences is exciting, in general. Not everyone has that opportunity,” Oladipo said. “Whether you are going to South Dakota, or Miami, an experience is an experience. You have to make the most of it. It is exciting to be here. It’s the first time playing five-on-five in some time.”
Facilities are a big part of being able to bring NBA players to their G League affiliate, as well. Oladipo was very impressed with the Sanford Pentagon and what it has to offer.
“It is beautiful, I have experienced a few G League teams and their facilities,” he said. “I have never seen one like this. It’s pretty dope to have this here. I know it’s appreciated and to come here and see it, I was overwhelmed and shocked. It’s cool to see that there is that type of access here.”
Powell reiterated that and felt that the facilities are one of the biggest strengths to the organization.
“It just shows the structure of the affiliate teams,” he noted. “A lot of teams are set in place where the facilities are top-notch to be able to have the NBA guys or assignees come to our facility and get the best work possible in. That is one of the great strengths we have here Sioux Falls is that our facility is top of the line, so we are able to do things like this.”
For Oladipo, while he is with the Skyforce, he will continue to focus on the task at hand but is also appreciative for the opportunity.
“It’s so helpful. With the HEAT and how the regular season goes, we don’t get that much opportunity to practice,” he said. “To have this resource with the Skyforce and to be able to come down and work hard is very beneficial to me and I don’t take it for granted.”