|Rio Grande Valley Vipers|
|League||NBA G League|
|History||Rio Grande Valley Vipers|
|Arena||State Farm Arena|
|Team colors||Red, gray, black, white|
|Head coach||Matt Brase|
|Championships||2 (2009, 2012)|
|Conference titles||4 (2009, 2010, 2012, 2017)|
|Division titles||2 (2009, 2012)|
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are an American professional basketball team of the NBA G League. They play their home games at the State Farm Arena, in Hidalgo, Texas. With two D-League titles in 2010 and 2013, the Vipers are the most successful team in the league along with the Asheville Altitude and Santa Cruz Warriors.
The Vipers entered a single-partnership affiliation agreement with the Houston Rockets during the 2009–10 season. Previously, they were also affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 2007–08 and the New Orleans Hornets from 2007–09.
After the finish of the 2006-2007 season, the D-League announced an expansion to Hidalgo, Texas, with the team name "Rio Grande Valley Vipers". In their debut season, 2007-2008, they finished with a 21–29 record, failing to qualify for the playoffs. In 2008–09, they finished with the same record, failing to advance to the playoffs for the second year in a row.
In 2009, the Vipers and the Houston Rockets entered into a single affiliation partnership in which the Rockets controlled the Vipers' basketball operations while the franchise remains under local ownership by Alonzo Cantu. The result paid immediate dividends in the 2009–10 season, as the Vipers enjoyed their most successful season. Led by league MVP Mike Harris, and coach of the year Chris Finch, the Vipers went 34–16, tops in the Western Conference, and earned the franchise's first playoff berth. In the playoffs, the Vipers beat both Reno and Austin in 3 games, and swept Tulsa in the Finals to earn the franchise's first championship.
In 2013, the Vipers won their second title over the Santa Cruz Warriors. Andrew Goudelock won the NBA Development League Most Valuable Player Award and got called up by the Los Angeles Lakers.
In November 2013, the Vipers announced Gianluca Pascucci as the general manager and Nevada Smith as the head coach.
On February 26, 2015, the Vipers broke ground on a new arena in Edinburg, which will be called Bert Ogden Arena, scheduled for completion in October 2019, which would be the Vipers' tenth season. The arena will reportedly house 8,500 seats, along with being a venue used for entertainment. The Vipers will be the main tenant and operator (while the City of Edinburg will own the arena), and there will be a 40 by 20 foot jumbotron, the largest in the league. The arena will be funded by sales taxes and cost an estimated $68 million, with nearly half being funded privately.
On August 18, 2015, the Vipers named Matt Brase their new head coach.
Season by season
|Rio Grande Valley Vipers|
|2009–10||Western||1st||34||16||.680||Won First Round (Reno) 2–1|
Won Semifinals (Austin) 2–1
Won D-League Finals (Tulsa) 2–0
|2010–11||Western||2nd||33||17||.660||Won First Round (Bakersfield) 2–1|
Won Semifinals (Reno) 2–0
Lost D-League Finals (Iowa) 1–2
|2012–13||Central||1st||35||15||.700||Won First Round (Maine) 2–0|
Won Semifinals (Tulsa) 2–0
Won D-League Finals (Santa Cruz) 2–0
|2013–14||Central||3rd||30||20||.600||Won First Round (Iowa) 2–1|
Lost Semifinals (Santa Cruz) 1–2
|2015–16||Southwest||2nd||29||21||.580||Lost First Round (Austin) 1–2|
|2016–17||Southwest||2nd||32||18||.640||Won First Round (Los Angeles) 2–1|
Won Conf. Finals (Oklahoma City) 2–1
Lost Finals (Raptors 905) 1–2
Rio Grande Valley Vipers roster
Roster • Transactions
|#||Head coach||Term||Regular season||Playoffs||Achievements|
|1||Hoffman, BobBob Hoffman||2007–08||50||21||29||.420||—||—||—||—|
|2||Moser, ClayClay Moser||2008–09||50||21||29||.420||—||—||—||—|
|3||Finch, ChrisChris Finch||2009–11||100||67||33||.670||16||11||5||.688||2010 DLeague Championship|
|4||Nurse, NickNick Nurse||2011–13||100||59||41||.590||6||6||0||1.000||2013 DLeague Championship|
|5||Smith, NevadaNevada Smith||2013–15||100||57||43||.570||6||3||3||.500|
|6||Brase, MattMatt Brase||2015–present||131||80||51||.611||12||6||6||.500||2017 DLeague Western Conference Champions|
- Aaron Brooks, G, 6'0", University of Oregon (2007)
- Steve Novak, F, 6'10", Marquette University (2007)
- Jarred Merrill, F, 6'9", Oklahoma Christian University (2007)
- Gabe Muoneke, F, 6'7", University of Texas at Austin (2007)
- Kenny Taylor, G, 6'3", University of Texas at Austin (2007–08)
- C.J. Watson, G, 6'2", University of Tennessee (2007–08)
- Kevin Bookout, F, 6'8", University of Oklahoma (2007–08)
- Cedric Simmons, F, 6'9", North Carolina State University (2008)
- Shannon Brown, G, 6'4", Michigan State University (2008)
- Chris Taft, F, 6'10", University of Pittsburgh (2008)
- Luke Anderson, F, 6'6", University of Minnesota (2008)
- Kyle Davis, F, 6'9", Auburn University (2008)
- Marcus Morris, F, 6'9", University of Kansas (2012)
- Glen Rice, Jr., F, 6'6", Georgia Tech (2013)
- Hassan Whiteside, C, 7'0", Marshall (2013)
- Dwayne Lathan, G, 6'3", Indiana State (2013–14)
- Isaiah Taylor, G, 6'3", Texas (2016–17)
Players assigned from NBA teams
- Steve Novak – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 11, 2007
- Aaron Brooks – assigned by the Houston Rockets on December 6, 2007
- Cedric Simmons – assigned by the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 2, 2008
- Shannon Brown – assigned by the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 11, 2008
- Joey Dorsey – assigned by the Houston Rockets on December 26, 2008
- Joey Dorsey – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 13, 2009
- Jermaine Taylor – assigned by the Houston Rockets on January 28, 2010
- Ishmael Smith – assigned by the Houston Rockets on January 17, 2011
- Marcus Morris – assigned by the Houston Rockets on January 2, 2012 & February 3, 2012
- Patrick Beverley – assigned by the Houston Rockets on January 7, 2013
- Isaiah Canaan – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 7, 2013
- Clint Capela – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 10, 2014
- Nick Johnson – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 18, 2014
- K. J. McDaniels – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 11, 2015
- Montrezl Harrell – assigned by the Houston Rockets on December 6, 2015
- Sam Dekker – assigned by the Houston Rockets on February 19, 2016
- Chinanu Onuaku – assigned by the Houston Rockets on October 31, 2016
- Kyle Wiltjer – assigned by the Houston Rockets on November 13, 2016
- Troy Williams – assigned by the Houston Rockets on March 10, 2017
Players recalled to the NBA
- Aaron Brooks – recalled by the Houston Rockets on December 14, 2007
- Steve Novak – recalled by the Houston Rockets on December 17, 2007
- Cedric Simmons – recalled by the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 11, 2008
- Shannon Brown – recalled by the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 17, 2008
- Marcus Morris - recalled by the Houston Rockets on January 16, 2012 & February 20, 2012
- Patrick Beverley – recalled by the Houston Rockets on January 15, 2013
- Isaiah Canaan – recalled by the Houston Rockets on December 21, 2013
- Nick Johnson – recalled by the Houston Rockets on November 24, 2014
- Clint Capela – recalled by the Houston Rockets on March 27, 2015
- Sam Dekker – recalled by the Houston Rockets on March 5, 2016
- K. J. McDaniels – recalled by the Houston Rockets on March 5, 2016
- Montrezl Harrell – recalled by the Houston Rockets on April 10, 2016
- Chinanu Onuaku – recalled by the Houston Rockets on November 21, 2016
- Kyle Wiltjer – recalled by the Houston Rockets on November 21, 2016
Players called up to the NBA
- C.J. Watson – called up by the Golden State Warriors on January 8, 2008
- Jawad Williams – called up by the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 9, 2009
- Mike Harris – called up by the Houston Rockets on December 23, 2009
- Will Conroy – called up by the Houston Rockets from January 28 to February 8, 2010
- Garrett Temple – called up by the Houston Rockets on February 8, 2010
- Mustafa Shakur – called up by the Washington Wizards, 2011
- Andrew Goudelock – called up by the Los Angeles Lakers, 2013
- Jordan Hamilton – called up by the New Orleans Pelicans on March 25, 2016
- Isaiah Taylor – called up by the Houston Rockets on February 27, 2017
- Gary Payton II – called up by the Milwaukee Bucks on April 2, 2017
(From left) Researcher Ken Clark pushes student D’Marquis Allen as Peter Weyand waits to catch Allen during a demonstration on the physics of “flopping.” Weyand, an associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics at Southern Methodist University, is using technology to help understand how much force is necessary to knock an athlete off his or her feet. (Photo Dallas Morning News)
Dallas Morning News science reporter Anna Kuchment covered the research of SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who is teaming with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to investigate the forces involved in basketball collisions and the possibility of estimating “flopping” forces from video data.
The coverage, “The physics of flopping: SMU researcher studies mechanics of NBA fakery,” was published Dec. 13.
Flopping is a player’s deliberate act of falling, or recoiling unnecessarily from a nearby opponent, to deceive game officials.
Athletes engage in dramatic flopping to create the illusion of illegal contact, hoping to bait officials into calling undeserved fouls on opponents.
The phenomenon is considered a widespread problem in professional basketball and soccer. To discourage the practice, the National Basketball Association in 2012 began a system of escalating fines against NBA players suspected of flopping.
The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund the 18-month research study at SMU. Weyand is associate professor and director of the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
Read the full story
By Anna Kuchment
Dallas Morning News
Was it a flop or not?
Last summer, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave Southern Methodist University more than $100,000 to try to answer that question scientifically. On Thursday, SMU biomechanics expert Peter Weyand demonstrated the early stages of his flopping research to a small group of journalists.
Flopping is when an athlete fakes a fall to trick referees into calling a foul on an opponent. The behavior is prevalent in sports such as basketball and soccer.
It’s an especially sore point with fans.
“In regular life, people tend to dislike dishonest people, and the same thing goes for basketball,” said Jeff Lenchiner, editor of the NBA news site InsideHoops.com. “It’s dishonesty expressed physically, and it’s considered an insult to the game.”
In one compilation of flops posted to YouTube involving Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, an outraged spectator calls the behavior “a disease” and a mark of cowardice, “bad sportsmanship and horrible acting.”
Flopping also costs players money. Last year, the National Basketball Association cracked down on the practice. Players now receive a warning after their first flop, followed by a series of escalating fines, from $5,000 for two flops to $30,000 for five violations.
Weyand says there is plenty of good science that can come from studying flopping. “This is uncharted territory,” he says. Scientists lack even a basic understanding of how much force is required to topple someone.
That is one of the experiments Weyand demonstrated Thursday. D’Marquis Allen, an SMU sophomore, stood on a treadmill-like platform. Wearing black spandex shorts, a black cycling T-shirt and reflective sensors stuck to his skin, he braced himself for a shove. Soon a lab volunteer pushed him in the chest with a device called a “flop-buster”: a padded yellow bar embedded with sensors. Allen took several steps back.
“That was definitely a foul,” Weyand said later, after measuring the force of the collision.
The research team was surrounded by gadgets that will help it measure the mechanics of basketball collisions. High-speed cameras recorded motion in three-dimensional space. Force plates beneath the platform on which Allen was standing marked his center of gravity. And motion sensors measured Allen’s position, velocity and acceleration.
The goal: to help officials tell flop from foul by simply looking at a video.
“I feel strongly about introducing science and data to situations in business and sports where there previously had been none,” Cuban said by email. “I love to challenge conventional wisdom with” research.
But at this stage, it’s unclear whether flopping can be measured scientifically.
Read the full story
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