On Friday afternoon, the Denver Nuggets announced that rookie shooting guard, Malik Beasley will be heading to the D-League to join the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Beasley was buried on the bench behind Will Barton and Jamal Murray but with the return of Gary Harris looming on the horizon, Beasley was likley headed for several DNP-CD’s.
Beasley, who has only played 54 minutes total this season and missed all of summer league due to a leg injury, will almost certainly benefit from getting on the court for actual basketball minutes. He has a lot of upside but, of the three players taken by the Nuggets in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, Malik is probably the furthest from earning serious minutes. Getting time on the court where he can focus on his individual game and getting reps against other professional athletes should help his development a lot.
We wanted to know more about this move so Denver Stiffs reached out to Chris Reichert, associate editor of The Step Back at Fansided and a passionate fan and expert of the NBADL. Chris shares his thoughts on the move, the SkyForce team, coaching staff, and more. You can also check out SkyForce games live on Facebook if you are interested in following Malik’s play.
Who are the Sioux Falls Skyforce and how are they doing this year?
Reichert: The Skyforce are the Miami Heat’s D-League affiliate and the defending champs after notching a record-setting 40-10 season last year. This season they picked up right where they left off as they were 8-2 heading into Friday night’s game against the Raptors 905.
How much time do you expect Beasley to get each game? Do they need a shooting guard / scorer?
Reichert: Honestly, every team needs a dynamic player like Malik Beasley, however this team is currently hitting on all cylinders so it will be interesting to see how much he is utilized. Ultimately, Denver gets to decide on where Beasley goes (after teams volunteer to take him as a flex assignee) so one would have to assume SXF agreed to give him at least 20 minutes per night.
What is the team’s style of play? What makes them unique?
Reichert: Coach Nevada Smith is known for his run-and-gun days with the RGV Vipers playing Moreyball, and while Sioux Falls doesn’t play to that extreme, they still get up and down. They are top-10 in PPG, RPG, APG and play defense too allowing the fourth fewest PPG to opponents. Briante Weber runs the team and they play through him and Keith Benson a lot. Beasley should get open looks on the perimeter as they run a free-flowing offense.
Who is currently on the roster of note? Have they had any recent call-ups under the current coach?
Reichert: They have not had any call ups this season (there have only been five throughout the league so far), but they have some known names. Briante Weber is the point guard, Keith Benson is their center and they also have Luis Montero and Marcus Posley.
Any loose thoughts about this assignment?
Reichert: I like it. Beasley is 20-years-old and has only played what amounts to one full game’s worth of minutes for the Nuggets, so it’s good for him to get real live-game action. The Skyforce are a top notch organization and they will use him to the best of his ability while he’s on the court. The downside here is he won’t be running any of Denver’s sets, using their lingo or getting comfortable with their schemes on the floor.
Want to know more about Malik Beasley? Check out our 20-minute exclusive interview with him on the Locked on Nuggets podcast where he talks about his family, the draft, and what ways the vets are playfully hazing him and the other rookies.