G League Ignite Prospects Game 1 Notes

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G League Ignite Prospects
Photo Credit: Tim Lang / Basketball Society

When watching prospects in their first action in a while, it is important not to make too many overreactions. But, to be honest, it was hard not to following a couple outstanding performances from some of the G League Ignite Prospects.

Here are some of my notes on the main four G League Ignite prospects that played today:

Jonathan Kuminga

Stats: 19 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 9/18 FG, 1/7 3PT, 0/1 FT

Let’s start with the one that probably had their stock most affected by his performance. Jonathan Kuminga had an unbelievable performance with regard to the transition he has immediately made to G League size and talent.

Kuminga did not have the best shooting night, but his ability to get to the rim and finish 8/11 shots inside the arc was the keen number to focus on. He had no problem taking his opponent off the dribble and continued to make controlled finishes.

Whether it was off the dribble or out of the post or in size-up situations, Kuminga was gaining the separation needed to get to the cup.

While, as stated, his shooting wasn’t on tonight, he did show some flashes. That’s what is important right now.

Even though he was just 1/7 from deep, his misses weren’t that bad. Most, if not all, were on target and simply were too long or too short. The ones that he did make showed a lot of what he could do.

The passing was on display as well, out of the P&R and in transition. It’s certainly something that we will have to monitor as G League Ignite gets more games in. Live dribble passing is something that I hadn’t seen much of from Kuminga before and he displayed it in this first clip below.

In all, the offensive game was extremely fun to watch today. His size has him already ready for the NBA and he shouldn’t find it too difficult to transition next year. The handle I would like to see get a bit tighter (which it will with time) and the three point shot will just need to continue to be worked on. But, there were just so many bright offensive flashes that there shouldn’t be really any negatives taken away from his performance.

On the defensive end, Kuminga moved his feet well and prevented a few drives as he kept the initiator in front of him. He did ball watch a little too much at times, but it’s not something to focus too much on right now as that was just his first performance. He even ended up making the game-clinching block in this clip below late in the 4th to secure the win.

Again, just an exceptional debut from Jonathan Kuminga.

Jalen Green

Stats: 11 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO, 4/10 FG, 1/3 3PT, 1/1 FT

Jalen Green came into this game in the top 5 of many draft evaluators’ boards and deservedly so. He was such an impressive High School athlete and showed a variety of tools that could certainly benefit him as he transitioned to the NBA.

Today, we saw a good amount of struggles from Jalen Green. As I’ve stated with other prospects, the first game from someone in a season isn’t the one to focus too much on. It’s the next few games that matter, to see what adjustments they’ve made. So, I won’t say too, too much about Jalen Green, but I will highlight some of the struggles, as well as some of the positives from his debut today.

One thing that was noticeable early on from Jalen Green was his inability to create much space. He lacks elite strength to power past defenders, so he relied on his burst and explosiveness and more often than not, it didn’t get him the separation he needed.

In the 2nd half, Jalen Green showed a bit more wiggle to gain separation to then score on his own or pass it off to a teammate.

He is a willing passer, but doesn’t always make the right decision. There were a few occasions where he forced up a shot instead of dropping it off to a teammate. I am looking for that to improve as he gets more opportunities out of the P&R.

Jalen Green will be a solid jump shooter at the next level. The shot selection will determine how efficient he will be. He wasn’t involved too much in the offense today, but it will be interesting to see how he fares when he gets the ball more in upcoming games.

Daishen Nix

Stats: 12 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 TO, 4/7 FG, 1/1 3PT, 2/4 FT

If it weren’t for Jonathan Kuminga’s performance, Daishen Nix would be the player we would say that had their stock most greatly affected by their performance today.

He was outstanding all day while making decisions with the ball. The vision, passing acumen, strength, and IQ were on display. The passing is what was so alarmingly impressive as he made a few corner skip passes to Jarrett Jack that were starting NBA PG caliber.

Every pass that I saw Daishen Nix make today was strong, direct, and on target. He constantly found his shooters’ pockets with his passes and directed the offense very efficiently when he was in the game. Simply put, when Nix had the ball, nothing seemed chaotic.

Given his bigger frame, a fear with Daishen Nix was that he was going to struggle gaining space when he attacked the basket. He used his strength so effectively today, particularly on drives, that he made the lack of burst/quickness seem irrelevant.

Defensively is where it definitely seemed like Daishen Nix’s lack of lateral quickness hurt him. He wasn’t bad on defense or unwilling to defend by any means, but if he were to slim down, it certainly could help him on that end.

All in all, Daishen Nix certainly impressed today with his patience, IQ, passing, and driving ability. He didn’t shoot much at all, but the one three pointer he attempted was a nice quick trigger one that he hit before the shot clock buzzer that you can see here:

Isaiah Todd

Stats: 2 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 1/4 FG

The last player to talk about is Isaiah Todd, another one of the top tier G League Ignite prospects. He only played 17 minutes, so there won’t be too much to talk about regarding his potential. The part of his game that certainly stood out what his defense.

Todd isn’t the strongest and he’ll need to work on improving his frame, but given his height (6’10), it is extremely impressive how effectively he can switch onto smaller guards.

In this one clip below, you can see how Isaiah Todd switches onto longtime NBA player Jeremy Lin and prevents two drives and forces up a very tough shot.

He moves his feet very well for his size and isn’t afraid to hedge, blitz, or switch on any of these screens. That is something NBA teams absolutely love to see from taller prospects. Stronger NBA players will be able to use their body to create enough room from Todd, so again the added muscle will be a big factor into his future NBA success.

Offensively there wasn’t much to highlight. There was one play he made where he picked up his dribble and then tried to throw it off the backboard to himself a la Tracy McGrady. It was more funny than anything, but even having the confidence to do something like that makes him an intriguing** prospect.

The one bucket that Isaiah Todd made was a moving fade coming off a down screen which shows his ability to move off ball. He has a bit of a slow release it seems, so I’m interested to see if or how he works to speed that up.

Excited to see more from Isaiah Todd as well as the others as we get to see more action out of these G League Ignite Prospects.

 

Follow Aram Cannuscio on Twitter here to continue to catch live highlights of 2021 NBA Draft Prospects and beyond. 

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