EDINBURG (KVEO) – Similar to how the NBA concluded it’s season, 18 G League teams will play the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in a bubble format.
“Obviously we would love to be playing a normal 50-game schedule, and be in the valley in front of our fans and our home court, home crowds. But this is, given the circumstances this is the next best thing,” Vipers General Manager Travis Stockbridge told media in a press conference on Friday.
The G League draft will take place Monday, January 11th at 12pm central. Finalization of the Vipers roster is expected to follow soon after.
“The biggest thing for us is always obviously fielding a highly competitive team,” says Stockbridge. “And within that finding players who have potential to be up with the [Houston] Rockets at some point.”
One advantage that emerges from the bubble format, is scouting for the RGV Vipers.
“This is really almost a extended showcase, where all the teams will be there, all the participating teams I should say. All the staff will be able to really get our pulse on this pool and hopefully that will allow us to be pro-active in making the moves we need to make to have a great year,” says Stockbridge.
Interestingly enough, the Vipers remain G League Champions. They claimed the title in 2019, and when their season was cut short last March, there wasn’t a chance to compete for the 2020 title.
“There are a couple other coaches and teams like “hey” don’t think you are, and I’m like well we officially are buddy!” said Vipers Head Coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah, when asked about competing for back-to-back titles this season.
Abdelfattah didn’t just sit back when his teams season was cut short. Instead, he took advantage of the time in quarantine.
“I believe there were 12-14 first year head coaches in the G League, so being able to get on the phone with those guys and kind of, you know have some lessons with them and see some of the mistakes that they’ve been through and see some of the areas that they’re trying to grow in, it’s been good.”
In a time of new, unusual ways to continue to play on, Abdelfattah is approaching the season head-on.
“Just kind of prepare for the unknown, but obviously now we know everything’s gonna come at you 100 miles an hour and so I feel that I’m ready, Travis is ready and just looking forward to it.”
The fluid date for games to begin is February 8th, though it has not officially been set yet.