When it comes to the exemplary D-League to NBA relationship look no further than the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and the Houston Rockets.
Players like Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, and Terrence Jones all spent a large part of their rookie seasons gaining experience in the Rio Grande Valley before carving their niche in the NBA. Now all three are important cogs on playoff teams.
Coaches have also climbed the tree from the Vipers bench all the way to a seat next to McHale and co. in Houston. Current Rockets assistant Chris Finch served as the Vipers’ head coach during their first championship in 2009 before moving to the Rockets.