Analyzing Prospects from the G-League Ignite In Their Second Game
February 12th, 2021
By Alan Lu
I decided to take the time to watch the G-League Ignite’s second regular season game of the year against Aleksej Pokusevski and the Oklahoma City Blue. The Ignite opened with a win a couple of days ago, and this presented another opportunity to watch some of the best draft prospects in the world. For those that are interested in the box score of this game, the link is here.
Today, Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green turned in impressive performances in their team’s win over Oklahoma City, as Kuminga scored 24 points, made 2 threes, and he also had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in this game. Jalen Green also scored 21 points, and he also had 5 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block as well. Isaiah Todd played much better today, as he scored 12 points and had 7 rebounds off the bench. On the downside, while Daishen Nix was able to tabulate 5 assists, he was held scoreless, as he didn’t play nearly as well as he did in his season debut. Here are my thoughts on how the four players fared, as well as how where they may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA.
Jonathan Kuminga played very well in his team’s win over the Oklahoma City Blue. He showed played a very good all-around game, and he continuously made strong plays to help his team get the victory. Kuminga shot the ball well to provide floor spacing for his team on offense. He excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to make one from way out. Plus, he also dribbled off of a screen and pulled up to make a pull-up jumper from the right elbow. He also used a crafty pump fake move to draw free throws on a pull-up jumper from the mid-range another time.
He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Kuminga ran the floor and drove in to quickly score in transition. He also ran on a quick curl cut when running off of a screen, and he dribbled in, used a pump fake, and then drew free throws on a leaner around the basket. He did miss on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive board, but he was active at scoring on off-ball motion plays in this game.
He also showed a fairly good ability to score in the post. Kuminga used a quick spin move to score on a smooth layup in traffic, and he showed deft footwork and shooting touch to score that time. His strong footwork and array of moves would enable him to draw plenty of fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. Also, Kuminga did a satisfactory job of scoring off the dribble. He drove off of a screen and used a hesitation move to score on a smooth layup, and he is a quick player that changes speeds well. He also used a crossover move to score on a powerful, one-handed dunk. Sometimes though, he would miss on tough layups around the basket.
Also, Kuminga displayed fairly good playmaking skills in this game. He tended to throw good interior passes in this game. He is a patient player that sees the floor well, and he possesses good footwork and vision to find open teammates and cutters. Plus, Kuminga also passes well out of the post as well as off the dribble. He also threw an accurate lob pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break early on. Sometimes though, he would commit ball-handling turnovers, as he can struggle to handle ball pressure at times. He had a ball back-tapped to lose it while dribbling up the court once, and he also held the ball too long before getting it stolen away another time. He also lost the ball out of bounds when dribbling it another time due to carelessness. He also threw a pass that got intercepted once midway through this match.
Also, Kuminga showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball. He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he would tend to leap up to get defensive boards for his team. He also was able to push the ball up the court off of a defensive board late in this contest.
Kuminga also played very good defense in this game. He showed a penchant for intercepting passes to get steals, and he showed terrific instincts to do so. Early on, he was able to intercept a lob pass thrown his way. He also rotated to block a shot off of a drive due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing. He also managed to poke a ball away once, as he applied considerable ball pressure to hound an opposing ball handler. Also, he was able to rotate to contest a running jump hook off the dribble to force a miss. On the downside, there was one play where he went too far over the screen, but he didn’t fight hard enough on the screen to get back to his man, as his team allowed a score on a pick and roll drive. On another, he over-helped in the paint and didn’t rotate back, as his team allowed an open three-point score.
In general, Jonathan Kuminga played a very good, all-around game, and he played well on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory. He looks to be a strong contender to be the top pick of the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a very good NBA player in the future.
Jalen Green had a solid showing in his team’s win over Oklahoma City. He especially excelled as a shooter and scorer for his team, and he also brought forth numerous highlight-reel worthy plays in the process of helping his team get the victory.
Green did a great job of scoring on drives to the basket. He would quickly get to the rim, and he can use either hand to consistently score at the rim. He dribbled off of a ball screen and used a hesitation move to score on a quick layup, as he changes directions well. He also drove to his left, eluded a defender, and then scored on an acrobatic, reverse layup. He also used a crossover and a hesitation move to score on a crafty floater another time.
Plus, he also really excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He would run the floor and catch lobs and long passes to score on the break. He was able to catch a lob to score on an alley-oop dunk in transition early on, and he also caught a long pass to score another time. He also caught a lob on a backdoor cut to score on another scintillating alley-oop dunk to help his team.
He also shot the ball fairly well in this game. Green was able to make a smooth pull-up three from beyond the arc. However, he missed on a couple of other spot-up threes other times. Green also was able to effortlessly knock down a mid-range jumper from outside the left elbow, and he also can draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line. However, sometimes he would miss on pull-up jumpers, and he would sometimes take tough, off-balanced shots, as he would occasionally try too hard to try to get foul calls.
On the downside, he was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, Green can throw solid passes to find teammates in transition and on the move, and he has solid court vision that allows him to set up plenty of scoring chances for them. However, sometimes he can hold the ball too long, as he had the ball stolen away from him a couple of times. He also telegraphed an inaccurate pass that got intercepted another time.
Also, Green did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to help his team get numerous defensive boards, and sometimes he would bring the ball up or push it up the court to create early offense for his team.
Defensively, he looked to be fairly average. Green is an active help defender that can make numerous plays on the ball, and he did a good job of blocking shots in this game. Green was able to rotate to block a shot off of a drive due to making a solid rotation and timing that time. He also was able to rotate to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also dove on the ground to nearly get another. He also was able to hustle back to contest a shot on a drive in transition to force a miss, and he was able to fight hard through screens to stay with his man. On the downside, he had a tendency to give up on plays, as there would be times where he wouldn’t look to stay with his man or contest shots, which would usually lead his team to allow scores around the basket. Another time, he didn’t follow his man out to the three-point line, and he was late to rotate to his man on that occasion. Sometimes, he would struggle to defend quicker opponents off the dribble. Another time, he bit on a pump fake, and allowed opponent to score on a dunk in transition.
In summary, Jalen Green is a very athletic, energetic swingman that primarily excelled as a scorer in this game, and he also showed that he can make some very solid plays on both ends of the floor. He is a very talented, high-upside prospect, and he is a likely top 5 pick that can be a very good player in the NBA.
G-League Ignite’s 6-10 forward, Isaiah Todd played much better in his team’s win over Oklahoma City. He especially played well in the first half, as he showed off some solid shooting and scoring skills, and he showed improved playmaking and defensive skills in this game. He was unafraid to hoist up shots early on, and he was able to string together some very solid plays, as he generally played well, even though his jump shot ended up faltering late in this contest.
Todd showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers in this game. He ran off the ball to make a quick three off the catch early on, and he showed that he can effortlessly knock down spot-up threes off the catch to provide floor spacing for his team. He also excelled at making mid-range jumpers. On one play, he used a pump fake move, dribbled to his right, then spun back left, and he then scored on a nifty, one-legged, mid-range jumper from outside the left elbow. He seemed to do a better job of making spot-up jumpers, but he was able to show an improved ability to make jumpers from off the dribble.
He also did a decent job of scoring on hustle plays. Todd was able to cut to the hoop to get the ball, and he was able to draw free throws on a layup. However, he ended up missing on a layup on a quick backdoor cut another time due to rushing. He also struggled to consistently score in one-on-one situations. He had his shots blocked a couple of times when he would look to score in the post or off the dribble.
Also, Todd displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game. He was able to get one really good-looking assist midway through this match. On that particular play, he drove to his left to throw a nice, no-look interior pass to set up a score for a cutter due to possessing solid handles and court vision. He also did a good job of passing out of the post. He also would set screens to help his teammates get open driving lanes. On the downside, he had a ball poked away in the backcourt to lose it that time. He also dropped a catchable entry pass that led to another team turnover. Todd did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He was aggressive in leaping up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to push the ball quickly up the floor off of a defensive rebound once.
He also played solid defense in this game. Todd is an athletic, rangy defender that can play shutdown defense when he is focused upon doing so. He was able to leap up to intercept a pass to get a steal. He also nearly was able to block a shot athletically off of a drive in transition, except his teammate had committed a foul earlier, so his would have been block was waved off. He can poke balls and deflect passes, as he will make things difficult for his opponents, and Todd was able to contest a long to force a miss another time. On the downside, there was one play where he was late to rotate, and he closed out hard, but bit on a pump fake to allow a score around the basket. That time, he made a good effort to try to get the stop, but he was too aggressive on the close out on that instance.
Overall, Isaiah Todd is a very athletic, energetic big man that showed a versatile set of skills, as he was able to play fairly well on both ends of the court to help his team get the victory over Oklahoma City. He’s still learning the game, as he will still need to hone his shot selection and be a more consistent player on the floor, but he’s consistently bringing good effort, and he made plenty of solid, aggressive plays to help his team in this game. He certainly has the talent to be a first round pick, but he will still need more time to hone his overall skills. That said, his performance today was an encouraging development, and is a step forward in the right path for him. Currently, Todd currently projects to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft. He’ll still need time to develop as an overall player, but if he can continue to improve, he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.
For G-League Ingite’s 6-5 point guard Daishen Nix, he didn’t have nearly as good of a game as when he put forth his season debut a couple of days ago. Today, Nix still showed that he can effectively run the team at the point and he displayed strong court sense, and he also showed a much better effort to defend in this game. However, he didn’t shoot the ball very well, and he was held scoreless in his team’s win over Oklahoma City.
Nix displayed very good playmaking skills in this game. He is a smart, savvy player that tended to throw crisp passes, and he can get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways to set up scores for them. He was very effective at finding teammates on the move. He threw an accurate lob pass to a cutter to set up a dunk early on, and he also excelled at throwing lobs and finding cutters throughout this game. He would consistently kick balls out to shooters to help get them open looks. He also would set off-ball screens to help his teammates get open jump shots. His lone turnover came when he threw an inaccurate entry pass that skipped out of bounds.
He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball. Nix would leap up to get defensive boards, and he would then bring the ball up the court afterwards. Defensively, he looked to be about average. Nix was active in staying in front of opposing ball handlers, and he was able to contest a shot off of a drive to force a miss. He also got his hands up when defending a pass to get his opponent to commit a passing turnover. He also was able to fight through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler, and he also tried to chase down a ball that was poked away to try to get a steal for his team. On the downside, sometimes he would take bad gambles as he would miss on steal attempts, and he would get beat off the dribble by quicker players. There were a couple of times where he would sometimes not even contest shots, which would allow opponents to get easier looks to score.
On the downside, Nix was held scoreless against Oklahoma City. As where he was very efficient at scoring against Santa Cruz and would score on powerful drives, Nix just couldn’t find his mark or range in this game. On one good play, Nix was able to draw free throws on a pull-up, mid-range jumper, and he showed the knack to draw fouls upon his defenders due to his size, strength, and foul-drawing ability. However, he missed the lone free throw attempt he had at the line. He tended to miss on tough, off-balanced shots off the dribble, and he also missed on a pull-up three after dribbling off of a screen another time.
Overall, this wasn’t Daishen Nix’s best game, but he still showed that he can capably run the team at the point, he was active as a rebounder, and he was competent defensively in his team’s win over Oklahoma City. He will need to be a more consistent player and scorer when he is on the floor, but Nix is an interesting prospect, nonetheless. He has very good size and strength to play either backcourt position, and his ability to score and run the team at the point could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider, especially in the late first round range of the 2021 draft.
Oklahoma City’s 7-0 point forward, Aleksej Pokusevski showed some interesting skills, but had a rough game overall. He played well in the first half, as he showed some handles, passing ability and vision, and he also made two threes from downtown. On the first three-pointer he made, he used a quick, behind-the-back crossover, as he pulled up to make a deep three from way out. He also made another pull-up three from well beyond the arc. In the first half, things looked pretty good for him, and he started out with 6 points on 2 of 5 shooting. However, he did not score in the second half, and he finished the game with 6 points on 2 of 13 shooting. Though he did have 5 assists, he also committed 7 turnovers. He did get 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, but he also committed 5 fouls in this game as well.
On offense, Pokusevski tended to shy away from contact at all costs, which would make it very difficult for him to score off the dribble or in the post whenever he would try to score in the paint. He is very skinny, especially for a 7-0 tall player, and his rail-thin build would make it tough for him to score in traffic. Pokusevski tended to hoist up quick jumpers from downtown, but he was unable to make any of his shots in the second half.
Overall, Pokusevski looks to be a skilled player, but right now, he has a long way to go before being able to be an effective role player in the NBA. He’s a talented point forward, but it seems that he really struggles to shoot or score effectively. He will need to learn to take smarter shots, and he will have to add strength and add more muscle to his thin frame to be able to handle stronger players in the paint.
So far, it may look dispiriting to Oklahoma City Thunder fans early on about Pokusevski’s lack of early production in the NBA or NBA G-League so far, but it’s important to remember that he is still very young, as he is only 19 years old, and he’s an unpolished player who needs plenty of time to work on his game. It is important for the Thunder and for their fan base to be patient with him. That said, he’s shown some solid skills in the non-shooting or scoring related elements, and he is an especially skilled ball handler for a player his size. If Pokusevski can make more shots consistently and find a way to be a reliable shooter, he could end up being a solid player for the Thunder in time, but that is a big if. It’s not certain if he will be a solid role player in the NBA, but Pokusevski is a versatile player that has shown an intriguing skill set, even if that has not really yielded much in terms of results right now. For now, it seems the best move for him would be to spend the entire season in the NBA G-League this year, and then re-evaluate him at the end of the regular season.
Other Notes, Part II:
For the G-League Ignite, veteran point guard Jarrett Jack scored 16 points, had 9 assists, and was a +17 in his team’s win over Oklahoma City. Jessie Govan scored 8 points, made all three of his shots, and both of his three-pointers in limited minutes off the bench. Former Brooklyn Nets’ big man, Donta Hall had 9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and was a +15 in this game for the G-League Ignite.
For the Oklaoma City Blue, former New York Knicks’ point guard, Chasson Randle scored 22 points. Former Portland Trail Blazers center, Moses Brown scored 20 points, and he also had 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in Oklahoma City’s loss in this game. Former Dallas Mavericks’ guard, Antonius Cleveland scored 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and he also made 2 threes. Ty Jerome also scored 11 points and had 5 assists off the bench in today’s game.