Miami Heat’s G League team, Sioux Falls, opens season tonight

The Miami Heat’s developmental league team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, opens the season tonight in Southaven, Miss., against the Memphis Hustle.

Sioux Falls will play 50 games in the renamed G League. Its home opener is Monday against the Lakeland Magic.

The Skyforce will have five players on the team from the Heat’s training camp roster; guards Matt Williams Jr., Derrick Walton Jr and Larry Drew II, forward Erik McCree and center AJ Hammons.

Williams and Walton are on two-way contract, which means they are Heat property, do not count towards the Heat’s 15-man roster and are allowed to spend a maximum 45 days in the NBA. Hammons is on a standard NBA contract so he counts as part of the Heat’s 15-man roster.

“We like the group that we have,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think it mirrors a lot of the qualities we have with (the Heat) group, a lot of toughness, a lot of defensive minded guys. Everybody’s just excited to get this season started.”

Before leaving for Sioux Falls, Walton was asked what the Heat coaching staff wants him to work on while in the G League.

“Pretty much just do what I do,” he said. “Run the team, make shots, and mostly on my side of things just being a lot more effective on defense. Picking up on schemes and what not. Pretty much just play ball and be the best I can be.”

The Skyforce is coming off a 29-21 season in Nevada Smith’s first season as head coach. They had the most wins for a non-playoff team.

“It was a tough year from the playoffs standpoint,” Smith told the team’s website. “The record looked okay at the end of the year, having the most wins for a non-playoff team in league history. …

“You know, it’s a development league. It’s about getting those guys better and getting them to the next step in their careers, and that’s more important than wins and losses.”

Sioux Falls won the league title in 2015-16 under the direction of current heat assistant Dan Craig, setting the league record for the most wins, going 40-10.

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