The defending D-League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ training camp just became more interesting. It was announced today that their parent club, the Houston Rockets, have assigned rookie power forward Patrick Patterson to the Vipers.
Patterson was a 2010 lottery pick, drafted 14th overall by the Rockets as a junior from Kentucky. He finished his three-year career at Kentucky with averages of 16.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.57 blocks in 97 career games (all starts). He is expected to begin practicing with the Vipers on Wednesday. Accordingly, he will NOT be on the floor when the Vipers play host to Halcones Universidad Veracruzana en Xalapa, four-time defending champions of Mexico’s LNBP league, tonight in a preseason exhibition at the University of Texas-Pan American.
It should not come as a surprise that the Rockets were the first NBA team to make a D-League move this season. After all, the Rockets were the only team to earn a perfect 4.0 GPA when D-League Digest graded the NBA teams for their D-League usage. And only the Spurs have had more combined call-ups and assignments the past two seasons.
Vipers General Manager Gersson Rosas, who is also the vice president of player personnel for the Rockets, reiterated the team’s belief in the value of the D-League through his rationale for assigning Patterson. “Considering the front court depth we have in Houston, we felt that, at this point in time, it was in the team’s best interest to assign Patrick Patterson to the Vipers,” he said. “We strongly value development through play and the upcoming stretch presented a timely opportunity for Patrick to join Vipers training camp, with the objective for him to play a primary role in the team’s games, practices and individual development processes.” Rosas went on to speak highly of Vipers coach Chris Finch and the Rockets’ track record of success utilizing the D-League with players such as Aaron Brooks, Joey Dorsey, Mike Harris, and Jermaine Taylor.
Patterson has yet to play in a regular season game for the Rockets after averaging 4.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 15.2 minutes in six games during the preseason. In Rio Grande Valley, he will join a loaded Vipers roster that includes 7-footer Jordan Egleseder and point guard Mustafa Shakur.
Patterson is the first player assigned to the D-League this season and the 116th different player assigned by an NBA team since the assignment system began in the 2005-06 season. For more information on D-League assignments, check out Matthew Brennan’s FAQ article.