Coming off of the heels of another series win, this time against the Canton Charge, Jarnell Stokes and the Sioux Falls Skyforce are advancing to the NBA D-League Finals in hopes of winning their first championship in the organization's tenth year of existence in the D-League.
A dominant force throughout the regular season, the Skyforce managed to break the all-time D-League wins record. This feat was due in no small part to Stokes, the former draft pick of the Utah Jazz who was able to bring home D-League MVP honors for his efforts this season.
The Skyforce have to feel confident given how well that they've played this entire season, but especially over the last few weeks. The success that they've had throughout the season should be enough of a driving factor, but with Stokes' recent honor in mind they'll also have a bit more history on their side.
Starting in the league's inaugural 2001-2002 season, Ansu Sesay, an eventual member of the Seattle SuperSonics, got the trend of D-League MVP's off right with a championship win. While there was a bit of a layoff in between Sesay's championship win and the next MVP's, the five-year run from the 2009-2010 season through 2013-2014 solidified the impact of the MVP.
|2001-2002||Ansu Sesay||Greenville Groove||Championship|
|2002-2003||Devin Brown||Fayetteville Patriots||Lost in Finals|
|2003-2004||Tierre Brown||Charleston Lowgators||Lost in Semifinals|
|2004-2005||Matt Carroll||Roanoke Dazzle||Lost in Semifinals|
|2005-2006||Marcus Fizer||Austin Toros||Missed Playoffs|
|2006-2007||Randy Livingston||Idaho Stampede||Lost in Semifinals|
|2007-2008||Kasib Powell||Sioux Falls Skyforce||Lost in Semifinals|
|2008-2009||Courtney Sims||Iowa Energy||Loss in Quarterfinals|
|2009-2010||Mike Harris||Rio Grande Valley Vipers||Championship|
|2010-2011||Curtis Stinson||Iowa Energy||Championship|
|2011-2012||Justin Dentmon||Austin Toros||Championship|
|2012-2013||Andrew Goudelock||Rio Grande Valley Vipers||Championship|
|2013-2014||Othyus Jeffers||Iowa Energy||Loss in Quarterfinals|
|2013-2014||Ron Howard||Fort Wayne Mad Ants||Championship|
|2014-2015||Tim Frazier||Maine Red Claws||Loss in Quarterfinals|
With the Quarterfinals and Semifinals now behind him as the rounds that most often knock MVPs out of the playoffs, the odds are looking good historically, especially recent history for Stokes now that he and the Skyforce have reached the Finals.
Sporting an overall record of 6-1 in D-League Finals series, teams of MVPs have been nearly unbeatable once they reach the last series of the year. With Devin Brown being the only exception 13 years ago, Stokes has the opportunity to keep up the playoff legacy that the MVPs before him have built.
Prior to the Maine Red Claws, and MVP Tim Frazier, losing in the Quarterfinals last year, the MVPs were on a roll, winning five consecutive D-League Championships, which is a testament to how much one or two players can swing a series.
Given that the team has already set the all-time wins record and has rolled through their playoff competition to this point, it's looking like Stokes and the Skyforce should be on odds on favorite against the Los Angeles D-Fenders once the Finals start on Sunday, and he should get the D-League MVP playoff record back on track.