The Sioux Falls Skyforce have talent.
Anthony Mason Jr. can ball. So can Trey Gilder.
Marqus Blakely has some of the best hops I’ve ever seen in the D-League and Keith Benson is a solid big.
Sioux Falls has so much talent, it has Gabe Pruitt, a second-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2007, coming off the bench, yet the Skyforce have the D-League’s worst record at 9-28. They’ve lost four in a row and eight of their last 10.
How is this possible?
“The reason our record is what it is the lack of leadership,” Sioux Falls coach Morris “Mo” McHone said. “We don’t have the chemistry. You can tell just by the way we act on the floor. We don’t congratulate each other.
“We don’t do those things and that’s one of the things we were talking about. We just don’t have that chemistry and the only way you’re going to get to chemistry, you got to have somebody take over and be responsible for doing it and we don’t have that. Haven’t had it.”
After losing twice in Erie this weekend, McHone said D.J. Kennedy is the leader of the BayHawks, but in his mind, he doesn’t have anyone who can take control of the game down the stretch.
“When things get bad and when teams are getting ready to make a run, you got to have somebody on your team that’s going to take over and we don’t have that,” he said.
McHone said the Skyforce were looking for Minnesota Timberwolves rookie point guard Malcolm Lee to give them that leadership in their two games against Erie.
Lee had 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Saturday’s 110-98 loss, but managed only four points on 1-of-7 shooting in Sunday’s 94-91 loss. McHone said the point guard has to be the leader “90 percent of the time.”
“We were hoping that Malcolm, when he came down, we were hoping he’d would be that guy,” McHone said.
Despite shooting 36.8 percent from the field Sunday, Sioux Falls almost pulled out a come-from-behind win.
Down 93-80, the Skyforce ended the game on an 11-1 run with a full-court press that forced three turnovers, all by Erie point guard Tyrone Brazelton, in the game’s final two minutes.
Brazelton saw extended action because starter Keith McLeod was out with a hamstring injury. A 2012 D-League All-Star selection, McLeod re-injured his hamstring Saturday after missing two games because of the injury.
When asked why he didn’t call on the press earlier, McHone based his decision on the fact he didn’t want to put Erie on the line like the Skyforce did Saturday.
The BayHawks attempted 47 free throws in Saturday’s win. They made 37.
“In the second half, they shot 38 free throws,” McHone said. “We got everybody in foul trouble.”
McHone wanted to keep Benson in the game as well to match up with Kyle Goldcamp, Sharrod Ford and rookie 7-footer Jerome Jordan, who the New York Knicks sent down before Saturday’s game.
“We had to wait,” said McHone on putting on the press. “Probably waited too long to do it. We probably should have gone to it at the 5-minute mark, but we were kind of in (the game) and kind of out of (the game). I didn’t want to send them to the free throw line like we did yesterday.”