Ball don't lie, but the numbers certainly appear to tell the truth more often than not, as well. As one of just three initial returning players for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season, forward Tony Bishop was recognized as a player who would assume a more substantial role during this campaign.
But even as the Rockets' affiliate has continued to receive injections of life from a handful of NBA level talents joining the team (be it as a big league assignee or NBADL free agent), Bishop nevertheless maintained a steady presence both on and off the court. He's been able to hold his own and continue making his mark as somewhat of a lesser known player, all the while,
Bishop's points (14.4), rebounds (7.8), assists (1.7), and steals (1.1) numbers have all increased from his rookie season in the D-League just last season. As such, his 30.1 minutes per game average comes with much more responsibility and relative accountability.
Luckily for the Vipers, Bishop is yet to disappoint. Though his shooting percentages are just somewhat lower than last season, Bishop's desire to be more adventurous on the offensive end should be commended. In addition to assertively attacking the basket a bit more as a high-flying forward, the 25 year old is also learning to have patience and display a bit more refinement in his game when necessary. He continues to work on knocking down that respective corner three with ease. After all, it's the easiest shot to knock down from deep.
With RGV running and gunning on a constant basis, Bishop's ability to catch the ball in transition and let it fly before a defender can catch up is a key element in his potential (and subsequent/continued) success in Coach Nevada Smith's offense.
Bishop is still somewhat of an underdog of sorts, but his work ethic is second to none. He continues to garner praise from team officials this season for his desire to keep getting after it. He may be underrated, but there's no doubt he's still someone who should be on people's radar. After all, anyone who is willing to sacrifice and looks to improve in something out of their comfort zone, all for the betterment of their respective team, is worth keeping an eye on.