For most incoming D-League head coaches, an effort is put forth to get to know the NBA affiliated team's coaching staff, understanding their respective needs and finding out the D-League squad can lend a helping hand be utilized as a valuable asset.
Such a transition should be a rather seamless one for new Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Matt Brase, however, given his immense familiarity with the affiliated Rockets' organization and vision. While Brase returns to RGV, having assisted Nick Nurse during the team's championship victory in 2013, he has since moved on up the ranks to a player development role with Houston.
Now, he's the man with the plan leading the way for the Vipers.
Player development is obviously a key component of what the D-League is all about, which is what makes Brase a perfect candidate to return and make even more of an impact with tomorrow's up and coming ball players. Though the likes of Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas have become household names and key contributors for Houston, it wasn't always like that. Coach Brase have watched (and helped) each of them grow in recent seasons, dating back to when they were on D-League assignment from the Rockets while Brase assisted RGV.
"I've watched Terrence and D-Mo progress, from when I was [with the Vipers] to now, which has been great," Coach Brase said during a media conference call on Tuesday.
Assuring that Rockets' assignees are comfortable in RGV will be a big priority, Coach Brase said. One of his key focuses will be making sure they get in the work and reps necessary, all the while remaining ready to be called back up. The same can be said about preparing everyday minor leaguers and tutoring them around Houston's respective system, assuming the Rockets could potentially call some up in a pinch to help out as well.
Having been on Rockets' head coach Kevin McHale's staff, Brase knows exactly the types of players the Rockets are looking for and hoping to develop.
As such, creating the strongest bond between the two squads possible will be his goal. And as popular as former coach Nevada Smith's run and gun offense was, it didn't sound as though Coach Brase's teams will come out with quite as much gusto out the gate.
"We don't be breaking any three-point records," the new coach conceded.