Analyzing the G-League Ignite’s First Showcase Cup Game

November 6th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, the G-League Ignite played in their first Showcase Cup game against the South Bay Lakers, and I was able to watch it online, with thanks to YouTube via nbagleague.  The G-League Ignite played a solid three quarters as they once had a commanding 18-point lead in the first half.  However, they fell apart in the fourth quarter, as they struggled to make shots or take care of the ball, or to defend down the stretch, and the Ignite ended up losing this game.  For those that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.

To me, MarJon Beauchamp turned in a strong showing, and Dyson Daniels also excelled from an offensive standpoint, despite having considerable defensive struggles.  On the other hand, Jaden Hardy really struggled, as he had a poor shooting night and had a terrible game overall, and Fanbo Zeng ran into foul trouble despite showing flashes of brilliance on both ends of the floor.  Overall, this was a better showing for the G-League Ignite, but they still have a long way to go as a team this season.

G-League Ignite’s 6-6 guard, MarJon Beauchamp scored 19 points, and he also had 10 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks, and 1 assist in his team’s November 5th loss to the South Bay Lakers in the Showcase Cup.
(Photo:
D. Ross Cameron/San Francisco Chronicle)

MarJon Beauchamp played very well in his team’s loss to South Bay.  He is a very athletic swingman that excelled at attacking the hoop to score on offense, and he also made a lot of plays to help his team on the boards and on the defensive end in this game.

Beauchamp showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would often score on quick drives in transition, and he was able to score on a thunderous dunk once.  He also caught a long pass on the break and scored on a quick, flip layup.  He also showed a penchant for drawing extra free throws after scoring on fast breaks.  Plus, he also was able to utilize a pump fake to score off of a backdoor cut.  He also dribbled in to score on a powerful put back slam after grabbing an offensive rebound another time.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Beauchamp ran off of a ball screen to get the basketball, and he drove to his right to score on a smooth, scoop layup in traffic.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls in order to get to the free throw line.  On the downside, he had trouble scoring on outside shots when pulling up off the dribble, and he had a couple of shots that missed completely. Also, Beauchamp was able to make a quick, spot-up three off the catch after running the floor to catch a long pass.  On the downside, he had trouble making spot-up threes consistently, and he was especially ineffective when he would try to hoist up corner threes in this match.

He also looked to be fairly average at best as a playmaker in this game.  He didn’t look to pass the ball very often, but he showed that he can pass off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also managed to set an off-ball screen to help his teammate score on an open jump shot.  On the downside, Beauchamp was also fairly turnover prone on offense.  He had some trouble handling the basketball when pressured.  When posting up once, he cleared out with his right arm, as it led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  He also held the ball for too long after getting an offensive rebound, as he had the ball stolen away from him another time.  He also drove into traffic, but threw a hasty jump pass that ended up getting intercepted by a defender.

Beauchamp did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass, and he was able to chase down numerous balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also was able to push the ball up the court off of a defensive rebound once.  He also played good defense in this game.  Beauchamp did a great job of poking balls away to from opposing ball handlers to get a plethora of steals, and he also ran in to intercept an errant pass that was thrown right to him early on. 

He also did a very good job of blocking shots in the paint, as he would usually swat balls to his teammates to help them secure the basketball.  He also managed to contest a fadeaway, mid-range jumper to force a miss another time.  In this game, Beauchamp was very active as a defender, and he is a rangy, athletic swingman that excelled at making plays and getting stops to help his team on this side of the ball.  On the downside, he had a tendency to over-help in the paint, which would lead him to be late to rotate back to his man, and it would cause his team to allow opponents to score on open three-point shots.

In general, MarJon Beauchamp played very well on both ends of the floor, and he was especially dominant in the first half.  He scored 17 points and had 4 steals in the first half, and he played terrific basketball in that time span.  He seemed to fade a bit down the stretch, as he scored just two points the rest of the way, and he had bouts of bad decision-making that led to misses and turnovers, but he still was active as a rebounder and shot blocker. 

Among the G-League Ignite prospects, Beauchamp may be the most polished prospect amongst them right now.  He is a very athletic swingman that thrives at attacking the hoop to score, and he also excels at using off-ball motion to score on offense.  He also showed that he can be a very good defender when focused.  He still needs to improve his three-point shot, however.  Still, Beauchamp has played fairly well for the G-League Ignite overall, and he would be a good pick for an NBA team in the mid first round range of the 2022 draft.

Dyson Daniels played fairly well in his team’s loss to South Bay.  He especially excelled from an offensive standpoint, as he scored 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting, made 3 threes, and he also had 3 assists.  He also was active at crashing the glass to help his team get rebounds.  On the downside, he really struggled defensively, and his struggles to defend on the ball made it tough for his team to stay in the game down the stretch.

Daniels did a great job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a penchant for scoring on quick, spot-up threes off the catch.  He ran off of a ball screen to make a three, and he also got fouled on another three-point shot to score and get the extra free throw.  Plus, he also did a good job of going to his left to score on crafty mid-range jumpers off the dribble.  In this game, he was able to make a turnaround jumper and score on an acrobatic floater on two separate possessions.  Plus, he also used a spin move to his right to score on a fade-away off the glass to showcase his scoring skills.

He also showed a penchant for scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to score on a floater on the break.  He also drove quickly up the court and accelerated to score on a smooth layup in traffic late in this game.  However, on one play, he got his shot blocked when attempting to score off of a cut.  Daniels also showed some post-up skills.  He was able to utilize a drop step move to his right to score on a strong, turnaround jump hook off the glass.  Another time though, after catching a high entry pass over a smaller defender, he ended up missing an open layup due to rushing.

Also, Daniels showcased solid playmaking skills in this case.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he would throw accurate interior passes to find teammates on the move.  He also would tend to make solid, drive and kick passes to consistently find open shooters.  He did commit a couple of turnovers, though.  On a drive to the hoop, he threw a weak, interior pass that ended up getting intercepted.  He also pushed off when he was off the ball, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover another time.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Daniels would chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.  Defensively though, he really struggled on that side of the ball.  For the positives, he was able to rotate to swipe a ball away to get a steal.  He also would rotate to contest shots to force some misses, and he applied considerable ball pressure to make it difficult for his opponents to handle the ball late in this game. 

On the downside, he didn’t move his feet very well defensively for most of this match.  He would often struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as he would get beat on drives to the hoop, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would get overpowered when defending on those plays.  He also would tend to get caught and stuck on screens, which would often lead his team to be put in scramble situations, and it would usually lead them to allow baskets.  He also would gamble and miss on steal attempts and over-rotate, which would put his team in compromised situations.

In summary, Dyson Daniels is an agile, skilled combo guard that played well from an offensive point of view, as he excelled as a sharpshooter, scorer, and facilitator in this game.  He also helped his team out on the glass to get them rebounds.  On the other hand, he consistently played poor defense pretty much throughout this match, and his effort on defense was lagging at times.  Daniels can be a good offensive player when he’s making his shots, but he’ll need to be a more consistent player in games, and he’ll need to add more strength and improve his on-ball defense.  In the meantime, he is a talented prospect that will likely get picked in the mid to late first round range on draft day.

Fanbo Zeng had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to South Bay.  He showed flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball, but foul trouble and poor shooting in the second half likely prevented him from getting more playing time in this game. Early on, Zeng was able to make an open, deep three off the catch to show his shooting prowess.  Unfortunately though, he didn’t take any more threes, and that turned out to be his only made basket of this game.  He also tried to score on a backdoor cut later on, but he didn’t go up very strong, and he missed wildly in traffic.  He later drove aggressively to the hoop, and used a quick spin move to his left, but he went too fast and out of control, as he air-balled the layup and missed completely.

Zeng displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  He passed the ball well, and he would throw accurate interior passes to notch a pair of assists.  He was able to find a cutter, and he also drove in and made a nice drop-off pass another time.  On the downside, Zeng did not grab a rebound in this contest.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  He was able to rotate to block a shot hard off the glass to a teammate, and he flew in to do so in order to prevent an opponent from scoring off the dribble.  He also managed to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal. 

He also used his length to get his hands up to make his opponent throw a difficult pass, which helped force a passing turnover.  On the downside, he had a tendency to rotate too aggressively onto opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would be too aggressive in trying to go for steals, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls.  He also would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead him to give up open three-point shots.

Overall, Fanbo Zeng is an athletic, project player that showed some intriguing skills at times, as he would make an impressive play on occasion.  In this game, he showed floor spacing potential, as well as the ability to facilitate and block shots when he was on the floor.  Other times though, he would be frustrating to watch, as he would miss a shot badly at times, and he would get into rampant foul trouble.  It seems that he may have fairly high upside, but he also looks to be far away from being ready to be a reliable contributor to an NBA team right now.  Currently, Zeng is a second round prospect for the 2022 draft, and if he can continue to hone his game, he could end up being an effective rotation player in the NBA someday.

Jaden Hardy was really bad in this game. He had an atrocious showing for the G-League Ignite in his team’s loss to South Bay, and he played way too many minutes.  He tended to miss shots often, and he shot the ball poorly overall.  He was somewhat effective as a facilitator, but he also was fairly turnover prone, and he would make bad decisions with the ball in his hands.  He also struggled defensively, and Hardy did not play well at all in this game.  He also played too many minutes, and his poor performance all around combined with his team’s fourth quarter struggles likely cost their team a shot at winning this game.

Hardy struggled to make shots in general, as he made just 2 of 15 field goals, and he scored just 6 points in this game.  He appeared to be at his best when taking mid-range jumpers, though he was still inconsistent at making them overall.  Hardy was able to cut to the post, and he then scored on a turnaround, fadeaway mid-range jumper.  Another time, he ran off the ball screen to get the basketball, and he dribbled left to score on an open pull-up jumper.  On the downside, he tended to miss on quick, contested shots, and he showed some poor shot selection in this game.

He also generally struggled to score off the dribble, and he was especially ineffective at scoring on isolation plays.  Thought to be the team’s likely go-to scorer prior to the start of the season, Hardy has not shot the ball well in any of the games he’s played in this year, which includes the October 29th game.  On one good play, Hardy used a pump fake and drove to his right, and he used a hesitation move to draw free throws.  On the downside, he tended to miss on tough, contested shots in traffic, and he would often in vain try to flail and get foul calls, which he would usually not get. Also, Hardy did not shoot the ball well at all from beyond the arc.  He missed on all five of his three-pointers, and he often missed on spot-up threes.  On one play, Hardy dribbled left off of a screen, but he kicked out his legs and missed while flailing to try to get the foul call.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Hardy is a very athletic guard that can consistently get into the lane when driving to the hoop, and he would often make swift drive and kick passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He also would throw solid interior passes to find his teammates on the move.  On the downside, he also can tend to be a bit of a ball stopper, which can stagnate the flow of his team’s offense, and his team ended up having several shot clock violations in this game.  He also would sometimes throw ill-advised, inaccurate passes that would end up going out of bounds.  Another time, he dribbled around for too long, and he ended up losing the ball when handling it due to carelessness.

Plus, Hardy was able to chase down balls to help his team get several defensive boards in this game.  However, sometimes he would forget to box out his opponents, which would lead him to allow opponents to get offensive rebounds in his area.  Defensively, he really struggled in this game.  Sometimes, he would apply ball pressure to stay with opposing ball handlers.  On the other hand, he tended to space out and sag too far off of his man, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on open three-point shots.  He also would miss on steal attempts and over-rotate, which would lead him to be out of position, and it would put his team in compromised situations.

When I first saw him play, I watched him dominate in a high school basketball game, and he appeared to be one of the best prospects for the 2022 draft.  In that high school game, Jaden Hardy appeared to be an athletic, dynamic scoring point guard that could shoot, score, and be a lead guard of an NBA offense in the future, akin to someone like Denver Nuggets’ star point guard, Jamal Murray when he was healthy.  However, high school basketball is a much lower level than the G-League, and it’s very far away from the NBA.  That, combined with Jaden Hardy’s very poor performances in his first two G-League games makes me think that I should lower my expectations considerably when watching him and evaluating his prospects for the NBA.

Right now, Jaden Hardy is really struggling in the G-League, and he has not been able to consistently make shots at that level.  He’s struggled to make shots, with shot selection, and has had bouts of committing turnovers and playing bad defense at times.  He still has time to figure it out, but so far, he doesn’t seem to be living up to the hype of being regarded as a top 3 pick for the upcoming draft. 

Hardy will definitely need to shoot the ball better in the meantime.  His porous shot selection and questionable decision-making may have NBA teams wondering if he has what it takes to be a point guard at that level.  Hardy has been struggling mightily so far, but his athleticism, shooting and scoring abilities combined with his upside could enable him to go higher than expected in the 2022 draft.  It’s uncertain if he’ll be able to live up to the lofty pre-draft hype coming into this season, but Hardy’s talents could enable him to still carve out a lengthy NBA career, as he could be a similar player to Denver Nuggets’ guard, Austin Rivers in the association.

Other Notes:

South Bay’s Mac McClung scored 24 points, and he also had 9 assists and 6 rebounds to lead the comeback charge in their win over the G-League Ignite yesterday.
(Photo:
John McCoy/Associated Press, via Bristol Herald Courier)


South Bay’s point guard, Mac McClung played really well, as he dominated by scoring 24 points and dishing out 9 assists in his team’s comeback win over the G-League Ignite in the Showcase Cup yesterday.  He did a tremendous job of attacking the rim to score on speedy, right-handed drives to the hoop, and he also threw down a high-flying dunk when driving off of a screen midway through this match.

McClung also pulled up to knock down a three off the dribble while drawing an extra free throw.  He also passed and handled the ball well, and he would throw crisp, accurate interior passes to notch assists.  He was especially effective as the team’s pick and roll ball handler, and his vast athleticism and shot-making prowess allowed South Bay to get back and win this game.  He also would hustle to make other plays, and he was able to chase down his own miss to get an offensive rebound late in this contest. Overall, Mac McClung had a great showing in this game, and he had a very good all-around performance to help South Bay get the victory.  He is a talented player that may have what it takes to be a solid rotation player in the NBA.  If he keeps playing well in the G-League, he could prove worthy of getting an NBA call-up this season.

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