Skyforce Defeat Energy In Season Opening Game
The 2012-2013 NBA Development League season is underway and the Sioux Falls Skyforce with their new head coach start the schedule with a 107-98 win over the Iowa Energy. Joel Abelson is a fresh face when it comes to the head coaching ranks after taking over for Mo McHone who coached the most wins for the franchise. However, Abelson was able to learn from a handful of title winning coaches during his apprenticeship period. The most important lessons learned were: assemble a good group of players and work hard.
The first game of season 24 was a scrum with the Iowa Energy. The first quarter resembled abstract art as opposed to a finely crafted work with the two teams both shooting below 40 percent from the field and a score of 18-16. Part of the reason for the low shooting percentage was an inability to knock down outside shots for both teams, while the Skyforce had center Jarvis Varnardo to swat away Energy forays into the paint. Greg Stiemsma’s single season shot block record could be under serious threat if Varnardo doesn’t get called up. The two teams gradually got better offensively, but the defenses were probably the most consistent areas of performance.
The hype surrounding former Los Angeles Laker Andrew Goudelock is well-earned. His shooting abilities though not in full bloom in game one showed signs of life with his array of floating one-handers on the run helped the cause with 23 points plus 5 assists. The return of Troy Hudson to the Skyforce after a 13-year hiatus was nothing short of amazing. He led the team in scoring with 25 and did considerable damage in the 4th quarter. The 36 year old can still pace himself and turn it on when it counts. It was also refreshing to see the Skyforce not commit late-game lapses that have plagued them the past two years.
On paper, the Skyforce have a more talented and deep roster, though the Energy will greatly benefit from Denver Nuggets assignee Quincy Miller who has drawn comparisons to Oklahoma City Thunder great Kevin Durant. Iowa has some talent at guard with Chris Wright and Mustapha Farrakhan each putting up 20 points in game one. There is potential in the Energy front line, but the starters must be better offensively than 5 of 22 from the floor.
These two teams will tangle seven times total in this campaign. The Skyforce lead the season series one game to none.