Earlier this season, our own Gino Pilato penned a compelling piece about the development (or lack there of) of Heat big man Dexter Pittman. Heating into his third NBA season, Pilato wondered if time for Pittman was running out, as Miami's patience grew thin with the prospect.
A couple months into the new campaign, the big man has continued to fail to make a worthy-enough impact, let alone stay on the court for the Heat. But because Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat's NBADL affiliate, saw top talent Jarvis Varnado head to Beantown after signing with the Celtics earlier this week, the rope has been extended for Pittman yet again.
Having only appeared in four games thus far this season, Pittman's new opportunity will now come in the D-League. With Varnado out East, the Heat big man can return to town and fill the void. Of course, Pittman spent some time with the Skyforce last season, averaging 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks through 22 contests in Sioux Falls last season. Though those same efforts were enough to earn him an NBADL All-Star nod, that same success has yet to translate on the NBA hardwood for Pittman.
And now it's time for another round of action in the minor league. The bad news, for Pittman, is he won't quite get to enjoy the sunny skies of South Beach for a while. The good news, however, is though he didn't really make his presence felt in Miami, the Heat haven't exactly given him a sufficient look this season anyway. Thus, perhaps the big man can't be blamed. Instead, he'll start to log minutes in Sioux Falls for what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra speculates could be a multi-week stint.
Though Pittman did play well offensively last season in the NBADL, his importance to the Heat obviously isn't how many points he can pour into the hoop on a nightly basis. The fact of the matter is he's losing out on minutes because Miami opts to play small ball with LeBron James and Chris Bosh up front, creating a domino effect of lesser minutes for all other big men on the team.
Recognizing the type of offensive firepower he plays alongside in Miami, however, the makeup of the Skyforce may prove to be a nice fit for Pittman. The team's starting backcourt consists of NBA vet Troy Hudson and high-scoring two-guard Andrew Goudelock. Former Syracuse star Demetris Nicholas also plays with the starting unit, giving Sioux Falls three very formidable offensive options to hit opposing teams hard with.
Playing alongside the trio will thrust Pittman into a very similar situation to his NBA home. Could Sioux Falls be the place where the big man finds his way and learns how to best play within his means amongst existing star talent? Only time will tell, but at least time is what the third-year NBA vet now has in the D-League. It'll be interesting to see if such a similar team makeups aids Pittman in making his minor league success translate to a steady role in The Association.