How did the Sioux Falls Skyforce do last season?
Last season, the Skyforce -- affiliate of the Miami Heat -- finished 31-19 in the regular season, good enough for second in the Central division. The Skyforce would defeat the Canton Charge in the first-round of the NBA D-League playoffs, but fell to the top seeded Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the semifinals.
The Skyforce had seven players who averaged 10 ppg or more last season, all of which appeared in at least 30 contests. Sioux Falls had multiple scoring options to run with every night, but Justin Hamilton (19.2 ppg) and Tre Kelley (19.4 ppg) spearheaded the charge. With all of these scoring options, it makes sense why the Skyforce scored 105.5 points per game, good enough for 13th in the NBADL.
Sioux Falls were also one of the most pass happy teams in the D-League, ranking eighth in assists per game at 21.5. Larry Drew averaged 7.0 apg, which lead the team, but Tre Kelley (5.1 apg) and DeAndre Liggins (4.8 apg) were not far behind.
The Skyforce shared the ball and had a successful season because of it, but with a lot of roster turnover, what's in store for this season?
How good can they be?
This could either translate to a win/loss prediction, or simply discussing the keys to their season (any key additions, etc). What do you guys this is best?
The Skyforce added key pieces in the draft that should help them retain success this season. Fuquan Edwin from Seton Hall and Michael Williams from Cal-State Fullerton were the first two picks by the Skyforce in the D-League Draft and were impressive in Sioux Falls' preseason game against Iowa. Edwin played 18 minutes off the bench, scoring 11 points, grabbing six rebounds and ripping four steals -- Edwin was 2013-14 Big East DPoY. While Williams lead the team in scoring in the 108-81 victory, with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, hitting 100% (6-6) at the free-throw line. Also impressive was camp invite Tyler Johnson, who collected 13 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals. Expect these three names to be leading the pack for the Skyforce this season as they make another playoff push.
Most likely call-up?
Most were surprised that Khem Birch was cut from the Heat during final cuts in favor of Andre Dawkins, which makes him the most likely call-up. Especially with a front court lacking depth in Miami, the Heat could use a shot-blocking player like Birch on the floor to do the dirty work. In six exhibitions with the Heat in the preseason, Birch averaged 1.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, plus one assist and one steal in 16.9 minutes per game.
Most intriguing potential assignee?
Shabazz Napier is my pick here. The Heat already have Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, both with NBA Championships, leaving Napier a little out of the rotation. Napier is averaging 21.1 minutes per game, but only putting up 4.1 points on shooting splits of 37/27/67 and 2.4 assists per game. It's clear that the former Uconn star needs more polish before being formerly placed in the big leagues.
Can Fuquan Edwin Replace Justin Hamilton or Tre Kelley?
The New Jersey native Fuquan Edwin is the player to watch for Sioux Falls this season. With Tre Kelley and Justin Hamilton gone from the Skyforce, there is a massive gap left in the scoring column from these wings. Edwin signed a deal with the Spurs this offseason, so there is obviously a lot of talent that needs to be seeped out of him. He put up 12.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.4 assists in his senior year at Seton Hall. He's known as a defensive force, but I'll be looking to see what he can bring on the offensive end for Sioux Falls.