Well I am sure a lot of you were wondering where I have been lately. Well lets just say first of I was recovering a bit after a long last weekend. Calling three games in three nights in two cities with travel mixed in took its toll on my body and voice So I am waiting till Wednesday to blog on a great many things.
First, congrats to the Vipers on their big win over Austin at the Dodge on Sunday. They have been playing great basketball lately. Even in their loss in Tulsa they have been fighting hard for each and every minute. I like this team. I like being around them. They are fighters and they work hard. They deserve a better hand than they have been dealt. Oh and here is a interesting fact, if the Vipers can win these next two games in Austin, they will have split the season series with the Toros. I think they can do it. They are a very different team without Keith Langford, and the Vipers are a very different team with Ivan Johnson. I am expecting at least a split in Austin. They aren't the same dominant team without Kris Lang and Keith Langford.
Secondly, congrats to the Houston Rockets on their 22 game winning streak. I know there are still a lot of people including this guy who think the Rockets are not a true title contender, and maybe they aren't but you have to give them credit for making history over the last month and a half. This is a fun team to watch and it completely exemplifies what the D-League is about with all the former D-Leaguers that are on their roster. The energy is back in Houston for basketball, and it was wonderful to see Toyota Center packed and rocking at the opening tip. I have been to the Toyota Center and seen the late arriving crowds, or the non existing crowds. I was a kid when they won their back-to-back titles and I remember how raucous The Summit would get. I am really enjoying this ride by Houston. Title or not this year, they are winning games without their biggest star. Take your hat off to them, they have earned it.
Also I am sure you have all heard by now that Vipers Head Coach Bob Hoffman has interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at Mercer University. There is always a ton of movement in college basketball around this time, check out the current death pool on this nice page on ESPN.com. It is no secret that Coach Hoffman is a much more comfortable in a college environment. It is one of the things that is hard about pro coaching, especially in the D-League where you can lose players all the time to either Europe or to the NBA. Whichever situation is chosen I will be happy for coach, because he always makes the best move in which to take care of his family, which is admirable. If coach does decide to leave I would nominate Vipers Assistant Coach Brian Walsh for the job. He is a winner, and knows the minor leagues like the back of his hand.
NOTES: Stay tuned for my March Madness Blog...FYI The D-League announced team #16 this week, and as I predicted it is in Erie, PA. Also it should be noted that the former Vipers owners Mark Pollock and Steven Demetriou are involved with the project. Expect the Cavs affiliation to move here. The question now is will the Vipers be down to only two affiliates. It looks that way, as the D-League is at 16 teams teams now which is more than half of the NBA's 30 teams. The Spurs and Lakers have their teams, so that drops the NBA total to 28 and the D-League total to 14. A perfect fit for two affiliates each. We know one will be Houston , will New Orleans be the other? Or could we see another Eastern Conference team? This news also popped up about one of the best teams in the ABA...boy that was an oxymoron huh, that's like being the best hockey player in Mexico. Sounds like they want in the D-League, but who knows how serious their application will be taken serious. It wouldn't be a first for the D-League to admit an ABA team, but your talking about an outrageous boost in expenses, especially with the team being in Canada. I just don't see it happening.