MIAMI — While the Heat are still competing for a playoff spot, the Sioux Falls Skyforce’s season ended Saturday without a playoff appearance.
After winning their first D-League championship last season, the Skyforce — Miami’s D-League affiliate — finished with the best record ever of any D-League team not to make the playoffs at 29-21 this season.
This was a unique year for the Skyforce. It marked Nevada Smith’s first season as the Sioux Falls head coach and two of the Skyforce’s best players were promoted to the NBA in the middle of the season.
Guard Briante Weber signed with Golden State in February before ending up in Charlotte, and forward Okaro White signed with Miami in January. Before moving up to the NBA, Weber averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 31 games, and White averaged 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 23 games.
Center Keith Benson remained with the Skyforce all season, though. The 28-year-old Benson excelled, averaging 20.5 points and 10.4 rebounds in 50 games.
Following Saturday’s final regular-season game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he reached out to Smith and assistant coach Anthony Carter.
“It still was a very productive, successful season,” Spoelstra said Sunday. “It was the first time really that our team took a hit from call-ups and permanent call-ups. In the past, they would have call-ups and then guys would go back. We didn’t send guys there either, which we had in the past. So, I think guys were able to develop. We were still able to instill our culture. I think next year with another year with this staff it will get better and more fine-tuned. But I think overall it was a success.”