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The News from Lake Covells: Introducing a new feature on the Miami Heat NBDL affiliate

Affiliates are important. This blog is an affiliate of the TrueHoop Network. The Miami Heat have an affiliate in the NBA Development League, or NBDL. They're known as the Sioux Falls Skyforce based in lovely Sioux Falls, South Dakota. So what better way to get to know this team than by connecting with a resident of "The Best Little City in America"? Enjoy our new bi-weekly feature on the Skyforce, entitled "The News from Lake Covells" with Sayre Bedinger. In the hot, hot heat of Miami, most if not all of the basketball attention is completely on the Heat, and reasonably so. Dwyane Wade and company put on one heck of a show. But what goes on behind the scenes? In 2001, the NBA founded the NBA Development League, which has gone very far under the radar over the years. The D-League features 16 teams, each of which has an affilliation with two or more NBA teams. Those affilliates are to the NBA team what a minor league team is to Major League Baseball. It's not that the players are not talented enough for the NBA, but as the league name indicates, most of the players in the D-League need more time to develop or hone their craft as a basketball player. Only a die-hard Miami Heat fan might know the team's D-League affilliate, which is all the way up in the ice cold midwest here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sioux Falls is home to the Skyforce, which have been a fan favorite of this city since the early 1990's. The Skyforce were once part of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and were very successful. When the economy took a turn for the worst, many CBA owners could simply not afford to keep their teams going anymore. Skyforce ownership recognized what kind of impact the basketball team had on the community, so they found a co-owner to help operate the squad. In order to stay in a competitive league of basketball, the Skyforce joined the NBDL, and have had multiple different affilliates over the years. The Timberwolves have always been one of the NBA teams for the Force, but the other team has seen a couple of different faces. In 2009-10, the Skyforce have a brand new affilliation with the Miami Heat. So what does this mean for the Heat? Why are the Skyforce even relevant? For one thing, the Skyforce are a team where the Heat can send a player if he is not developing as planned. Another helpful asset of the Skyforce is that they provide the Heat with a place to send players who might need a rehab game or two, much similar to what you have probably seen in the world of baseball. One little known fact around the NBA might be that Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who came out of nowhere in their title run, was actually drafted by the Skyforce out of Florida when the team was still part of the CBA. He has since become a nice addition to the team, and has stuck on the roster and even started over the years. Currently on the Skyforce, there is a very nicely kept secret in small forward Reggie Williams. The 23 year old out of Virginia Military Institute is having one of the better single seasons in Skyforce history, and should be primed for a call-up at any time. Williams is averaging 26 points, six rebounds, and three assists per contest this season, and is shooting a staggering 41.4 percent from beyond the three point line. His field goal percentage is at a mind boggling 57.7 percent, and the All Star is hitting on 82.3 percent of his free throw attempts. I think the Heat might take notice of those numbers sooner rather than later. Throughout the rest of the season, I will be providing periodical Skyforce updates for you Heat fans, and I encourage you to follow the team closely as well. You never know what kind of gem could be hiding all the way up here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.