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Houston Rockets: Rio Grande Valley Vipers Season Preview

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 19: Tommy Smith, vice president of the NBA Development League presents the Western Conference Finals trophy to Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Matt Brass after they defeated the Oklahoma City Blue 114-102 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of an NBA D-League playoff game on April 19, 2017 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 19: Tommy Smith, vice president of the NBA Development League presents the Western Conference Finals trophy to Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Matt Brass after they defeated the Oklahoma City Blue 114-102 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of an NBA D-League playoff game on April 19, 2017 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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An early look at the upcoming season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers including the roster, playoffs chances, and more.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season was amazing, despite the devastating loss to the Raptors 905 in the Finals.

The talented roster included Gary Payton II, Chris Johnson, Isaiah Taylor, Joshua Smith, Chris Walker, and Rockets’ assignee Kyle Wiltjer. Other players like Chinanu Onuaku and Darius Morris ranked in the league in rebounds and assists per game.

The RGV placed 2nd in the Southwest division with a record of 32 -18. In addition, the Vipers are the 2017 Western Conference Finals Champions after defeating the Oklahoma City Blue.

Changes to Roster

During the summer, the Vipers had two players sign overseas.

  • Joshua Smith, who is playing for TNT KapTropa in the Philippines
  • Markus Kennedy, who recently signed with the Italian team, the Flex Pistoia.

The Vipers also lost assignee Kyle Wiltjer since the Rockets traded him to the LA Clippers this summer.

Meanwhile, I am excited to see Isaiah Taylor and Troy Williams, who I believe will spend the majority of the season with the Rockets.

So What’s New?

Despite losing key players, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers will acquire Demetrius Jackson, who recently signed a two-way contract with the Rockets. The two-way contract allows Jackson to spend an unlimited amount of time on the Vipers roster.

In addition, Zhou Qi is expected to spend his rookie season in the Rio Grande Valley. Joining the Vipers will allow Zhou to receive much more playing time that will aid in his development.

Playoff Chances

I predict the Vipers will rank 1st in the Southwest Division and reach the playoffs this coming season. Why? Well, the Vipers have had four Finals appearances in the past 8 seasons and ranked in the top of the league offensively.  Last year, the Vipers had an offensive rating of 113.7, which ranked first in the league. The team also ranked first in the league with a 54.5% eFG.

What Do You Think?

Leave your comments below about what you expect from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this coming season.

Next: Beverley Requested a Trade Out Of Houston, and That's Okay

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