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Skyforce name 3-point specialist Nevada Smith as head coach

Miami Heat prospects will receive expert schooling on their 3-point attempts in Sioux Falls.

Nevada Smith

In selecting Nevada Smith as the new Sioux Falls Skyforce head coach, the Miami Heat aim to improve their prospect’s ability to convert from beyond the arc. The press release writes:

“The Miami HEAT announced today that Nevada Smith has been named head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, becoming the 19th head coach in franchise history. An introductory press conference for Smith will be held on Friday, September 23 at 2:00 pm at the Sanford Pentagon.”

“We are excited to welcome Nevada back to the Development League in his role as head coach of the Skyforce,” said Skyforce General Manager Adam Simon. “His passion for coaching and his history of developing players make him a great addition to our organization. We look forward to Nevada applying the HEAT culture to our developmental program in Sioux Falls.”

“Smith formerly served as the head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he led the team to an overall record of 57-43 in two seasons spanning from 2013-15. Before coaching the Vipers, Smith spent two seasons as the head coach of the Keystone College Giants in Le Plume, Pennsylvania. There, he led the Giants to a 39-16 record in two seasons as while reaching the first two CSAC Championship games in school history.”

A profile on him said:

“The Vipers players' hardly knew how to react to the new boss telling them to shoot 50 threes a game. Small forward Chris Johnson, one of two holdovers from the 2012-13 champions (along with center Tim Ohlbrecht), thought he was joking. Then the season started and the Vipers’ scoring outputs looked more like bowling scores: 124, 140, 105, 145, 153, 139, 133.”

The figures and charts proved that Smith was not kidding when he instructed them to rely on outside shooting. For instance, they averaged 45 3-point attempts per game, and almost half of all their field goal attempts were from beyond the arc.

Vipers Rain

The shot chart appears like an analytics coach dream scheme, because almost all attempts were outside the line or at the rim.

shot chart

This video shows the Vipers, including James Johnson. scoring 153 points and features 21 made 3’s.

As Smith says, “Shooters are a different breed. They’re delicate; they have to be treated differently. Being a shooter, you have to be arrogant. That’s how I modeled my game.”

Sounds like his boyhood idol Reggie Miller, or today’s Stephen Curry. Curry won’t out-muscle Hassan Whiteside or DeAndre Jordan at the rim, but he gets even through his long-distance accuracy.

The NBA D-league has been good to the Heat, which is slowly becoming a Google-like sandbox where the kinks in a new system are worked out before hitting the big stage. Hopefully Smith will continue to polish those diamonds in the rough, who have the ability, but not the reps, to make their impact felt in the NBA.