Despite helping his team improve upon the previous year's record with a 25-25 finish this past season, head coach Joel Abelson ultimately couldn't catapult the Sioux Falls Skyforce into the D-League playoffs.
Still, there was plenty to be excited about in Sioux Falls. Overcoming various obstacles and helping the Skyforce cope with multiple NBA call-ups, injuries, etc., Abelson proved he could coach through adversity while still managing to keep player development a priority.
But after entering into a single affiliation with Sioux Falls, the NBA champion Miami Heat opted to go in a different direction. Opting to employ their own staff from top to bottom, Miami put longtime scout Pat Delany at the helm of the NBADL squad as head coach, instead.
That ultimately left Abelson to fend for himself as he sought out another position. A little more than a month after serving as an assistant coach for the NBA D-League Select Team during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the coach has finally appeared to have found a new match.
Abelson has reportedly agreed to become the next head coach of the Reno Bighorns, the newly minted single affiliate of the Sacramento Kings. As he settles into his new digs, Abelson will also enter a somewhat different situation than last year's with the Skyforce.
Instead of aiming to please and form relationships with multiple NBA team affiliates, it's likely that Abelson will now be working closely with Kings' brass, not only to help develop some of their own young guns, but also to keep an eye on those who may be able to lend a helping hand in the future. Such a new role will undoubtedly be an intriguing one for the savvy coach.
As Abelson steps up to take charge of the Bighorns, it'll be interesting to see who, if anyone, will join him in town from his Skyforce staff.
Despite the fact that the Heat ultimately decided not to retain Abelson as head coach, there's no doubt his staff made strides along with impressive progress last season. Though he won't necessarily get to build upon it Sioux Falls, the new role Abelson has gone on to snag is simply a testament to the type of quality he does with some of the D-League's up and coming athletes.