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27 Teams In 27 Days: Meet The Sioux Falls Skyforce

By Jake Winderman | September 11, 2018

Team: Sioux Falls Skyforce

First Season: 1989-1990 (Continental Basketball Association), 2006-2007 (NBA G League)

Affiliate: Miami Heat

Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Arena: Sanford Pentagon

Head Coach: Nevada Smith

Mascot: Thunder

2017-2018 Finish: 25-25 (2nd in Midwest)

2017-2018 Accolades: Briante Weber (All-NBA G League Defensive Team)

2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 13th

Current Two-Way Players: Duncan Robinson (Michigan) and Yante Maten (Georgia)

Notable Alumni: Malik Beasley, Khem Birch, Cedric Ceballos, Larry Drew II, Scotty Hopson, Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Arnett Moultrie, Jarnell Stokes, Mychel Thompson, Briante Weber, Okaro White, Hassan Whiteside

The Sioux Falls Skyforce are the longest-running minor league basketball organization in the United States, debuting during the 1989-1990 season in the Continental Basketball Association. In 1989, a name-the-team contest was held, producing 1,045 different suggestions. The two most popular choices, “Sky” and “Force” were combined to create the name Skyforce, which the franchise has used ever since.

Between 1989 and 2006, the Sioux Falls Skyforce played in the Continental Basketball Association. The team spent the 2000-2001 season in the International Basketball Association before returning to the C.B.A. for five more seasons. The Skyforce won two C.B.A. titles, first in 1996 and then again in 2005.

Before the 2006-2007 season, the Skyforce announced that they’d be leaving the C.B.A. for the NBA G League. Sioux Falls made the playoffs in each of their first two seasons, winning at least one playoff game each year. In 2013, the Skyforce received two franchise-changing pieces of information. First, the Skyforce moved from Sioux Falls Arena to the Sanford Pentagon, where they still play today. Sioux Falls has gone 82-38 at home since moving to the Pentagon. Second, the Skyforce announced that they entered into a single-affiliation with the Miami Heat. Since the merger, the Skyforce have gone 154-96.

Before the 2013-2014 season, Sioux Falls traded in their white and blue jerseys for red and yellow, rebranding themselves with some distinct Heat flare. Before Miami came into the picture, the Skyforce had been affiliated with the Detroit Pistons (2006-2007), Minnesota Timberwolves (2006-2013), Charlotte Bobcats (2007-2009), Orlando Magic (2011-2013) and Philadelphia 76ers (2012-2013).

In 2016, the Skyforce made the NBA G League Finals for the first time in franchise history. Sioux Falls took out the Los Angeles D-Fenders in three games, securing their first G League title. Jarnell Stokes won the NBA G League MVP and NBA G League Finals MVP for Sioux Falls that season. The Skyforce’s 40-10 regular season record is still an NBA G League record to this day. A year later, in 2017, the Miami Heat announced that they had purchased the Skyforce, taking a controlling interest in the organization.

Since their debut in 1989, the Skyforce have gone 803-714, finishing with a .500 record or better in 19 of their 29 seasons. Sioux Falls has had 19 different head coaches since their inaugural season including notables such as Dave Joerger, Flip Saunders, Dan Craig, Nate Tibbetts, Pat Delaney, Phil Weber and Mo McHone.

According to the team, 449 different players have donned a Sioux Falls Skyforce jersey for at least one game. Sioux Falls has produced 80 NBA Call-Ups featuring 53 different players over the course of their franchise history.

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