After making his NBA homecoming and debut with the Miami Heat over the past week, guard Derrick Walton Jr. has returned to the Heat’s developmental-league affiliate, the G League Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Having joined the Heat for the just completed six-game road trip when Dion Waiters left the team for the birth of his daughter and then Tyler Johnson fell ill, Walton left the Heat after Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons to fly north instead of south.
Walton, the undrafted guard out of Michigan, has yet to play for the Skyforce. His two-way contract allows him to spend up to 45 days this season with the Heat. The recent stint accounted for eight of those days.
Walton was inactive for Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons, but the trip to Detroit allowed him to return to his hometown as well as attend Michigan’s basketball game Saturday in Ann Arbor, where he was part of the pregame banner ceremony to recognize the Wolverines’ 2017 Big Ten Tournament championship.
Walton’s lone appearance for the Heat came at the close of last week’s blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, when he played the final 68 seconds, with his lone statistic one defensive rebound. He also was in uniform for the Heat’s victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.
Walton rejoined Matt Williams Jr., the undrafted 3-point specialist out of Central Florida, with the Skyforce, with Williams also on a two-way contract.
The Heat also have center A.J. Hammons on assignment with the Skyforce, although, unlike Walton and Williams, he continues to count against the Heat’s 15-player roster limit.
Walton said he has been in touch with Williams as he now prepares for his own G League debut.
“Yeah, I’ve talked to Matt for quite some time just to talk to him and see what’s going on,” he said, having spent training camp with the Skyforce before joining the Heat as the G League season began. “Since I know I’ll be splitting my time, of course and I look and make sure I know what’s going on.”
Walton said he already has a comfort zone with the Skyforce, with Sioux Falls coach Nevada Smith and Sioux Falls assistant, Anthony Carter, the former Heat guard, having worked with him during Heat training camp.
Of the week he previously spent in Sioux Falls before joining the Heat on Nov. 5, Walton said, “It was cool, different, but a learning experience.”
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