In High Scoring League Liggins Digs Defense
“Defense is my calling card.” That statement and variations of it came from the lips of Sioux Falls Skyforce guard/forward DeAndre Liggins who was named 2014 NBA Development League Defensive Player of the Year.
The league’s 17 head coaches vote on the award, but there is also a list of players who dreaded seeing the former Orlando Magic draftee draw the defensive assignment. Idaho’s Kevin Murphy is one of those. A playoff berth was on the line with Idaho and Sioux Falls in a head-to-head showdown on Friday March 21. Murphy was listed on the NBADL Prospect Watch as the top player while averaging 25.1 points per game. Liggins relished the challenge. “My main thing was to really get into Kevin Murphy. I wanted to do what I do defensively. He’s going to score, but I want to make it hard for him.” Murphy scored 21 that night, but Liggins bird-dogged Murphy incessantly even inducing two jump balls out on the perimeter on the 6-5 sharpshooter from Tennessee Tech.
Overall, the 6-6 guard from Kentucky produced in a number of different roles for Sioux Falls this past season. When Larry Drew II was out with injury early in the season, Liggins played the point guard spot. During the mid point of the season, Liggins spent a portion of one game at power forward because it was needed. The best example of the man’s versatility is encompassed in the clip below.
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For the season, Liggins led the NBADL in steals with 2.6 per game, scored 14.2 points, dealt 4.8 assists and grabbed 7.1 rebounds over 42 games. Miami also took Liggins into the fold for two 10-day contracts during late February and early March. During that time, the Skyforce gave up 100 or more points per game during the entire time Liggins was called up. For the season, Sioux Falls as a team held their opponents to 45 percent shooting which ranks as the league’s best.