Post by blackandgold on Nov 1, 2014 19:26:10 GMT -5
Duke Mondy was drafted in the fourth round of the NBA D-League draft today by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers are the D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, and one of the more interestingly run teams. They play at a frantic pace and shoot a lot of 3s. (http://grantland.com/features/nba-dleague-rgv-vipers-houston-rockets-future-of-basketball/)
They took 7 players in the draft today so lots of new competition for spots. Hopefully Duke sticks with them and has a chance to play.
The Vipers got closer to establishing their regular season roster on Tuesday, making three cuts to whittle it down to 13. One more cut will have to be made by Friday.
The Vipers released forwards Akeem Ellis and Austin Witter, and guard Duke Mondy. Ellis and Witter were caught in a numbers game. Ellis, who spent last season with RGV and was one of three returners, is a 3-point shooting wing who didn't really have a position.
He was not quick enough to defend shooting guards and not big enough to defend small forwards. He was the ideal team player, great for chemistry, but he has skills that the Vipers have in bunches elsewhere, particularly with a roster like that is more versatile and athletic than last year's. Ellis is an uplifting persona who will be missed more in the locker room than on the court.
Witter was a 6-8 big who didn't stand out in any specific way. The Vipers are low on quality bigs, but Witter was raw. The sixth-round draft pick was likely a long shot to make the roster anyway, though the strong play of 6-9 center Raphiael Putney (13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) during Monday's exhibition win also didn't help Witter's cause. Putney is not as bouncy as Witter, but has length, shooting range and mobility that belies his skinny, tall frame.
Mondy never got a chance to show what he could do. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Vipers, but injured his ankle the day of the Nov. 1 draft. Since then, he was not able to practice because of the injury.
All this means that former UTPA standout guard Brandon Provost survived the first round of cuts. The last cut, in my opinion, likely comes down to him or camp invitee Jaron Johnson, a 6-4, 200-pound guard out of Louisiana Tech. What helps Johnson is he was one of the first players off the bench during the Vipers' exhibition win on Monday. What helps Provost is he's the better shooter, and it helps that he's a familiar name for an organization that badly wants to increase support from the locals.