Assessing the G-League Ignite In Their Loss to Delaware
March 2nd, 2021
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, I decided to take the time to watch the much-anticipated NBA G-League game that took place between the G-League Ignite and the Delaware Blue Coats. The G-League Ignite is a young, up and coming team that has a couple of elite prospects that will likely be in the 2021 draft, with two others that could end up in the first round this year, while Delaware is a very good G-League team that was able to reel off 7 straight wins to start the season.
This game was set to be sort of a playoff preview. However, Delaware jumped on the G-League Ignite early, and they outworked them on both ends of the floor to get a lopsided win. Here are my thoughts on how Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix fared, as well as where they may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA. Also, for those that are interested in the box score of this game, the link is here.
Jonathan Kuminga had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Delaware. He scored 19 points, and he also had 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block, but he also committed 5 turnovers, and he also seemed to make a litany of defensive mistakes in this game.
Kuminga did a good job of scoring in the post. He was able to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk to score early on. He also managed to score on a quick, turnaround jumper off the glass another time. Plus, he will absorb the contact to get extra free throws after scoring on post plays, and he did a terrific job of drawing fouls to get to the free throw line often. Sometimes though, he would take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses.
He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. Kuminga ran the floor to score on a powerful jam on the break once. Plus, he also managed to draw free throws on a backdoor cut to the hoop. However, he had a shot blocked on a quick put back attempt after grabbing an offensive rebound once.
Also, he flashed the ability to knock down jumpers. Kuminga was able to use a pivot move to score on a turnaround, pull-up mid-range jumper from outside the left elbow. He also was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch. On the other hand, he was unable to make threes consistently from beyond the arc.
He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble. Kuminga showed a knack for scoring in the post as well as from the mid-range. On the downside, sometimes he would take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses.
Plus, he also displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Kuminga is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can sometimes show solid court vision to get assists. He was able to make a nifty, drop-off pass off of a drive to set up a score for a teammate at the rim, and he can throw long outlet passes as well as find teammates on the move. However, he also had a tendency to telegraph his passes, as he would throw hasty passes that would tend to get intercepted.
In addition, Kuminga did a terrific job of rebounding the basketball. He would often chase down balls to get numerous boards to help his team on both ends of the floor, and sometimes he would push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.
However, he continued to really struggle defensively. Kuminga can be a solid defender when he’s dialed in, but he tends not to give great effort for long stretches at a time. For the positives, Kuminga was able to stay in front of his man when guarding out on the perimeter, and he managed to block a shot off the glass to himself due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing. He also was able to alter a long two-point shot to force an airball. He also was able to deflect a pass another time. There was also another play where he didn’t bite on ball fakes when defending in the post, and he was able to contest a shot to force a miss.
On the down side, he would tend to loaf on defense, as he would not run hard back and would sometimes not even contest shots, which would lead his team to allow scores often in transition. Sometimes he wouldn’t even pick up a man and would give up too much space to allow shooters to score on threes. He also had a tendency to take bad gambles by missing on steal attempts, and sometimes he would get beat off the dribble by players who shouldn’t go by him, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores. Another time, he got caught ball watching, and was beat on a cut on a misdirection play to allow a score.
In this game, Jonathan Kuminga may have played the best amongst the draft-eligible prospects that played in this game in the G-League Ignite’s lopsided loss to Delaware, but his defensive effort seemed to be embarrassingly lackluster for most of this contest. On numerous defensive possessions, he would either make a half-hearted attempt to defend or pretty much no attempt at all. For a player that has the ability to be a defensive stopper, it was baffling that he could not keep his focus or show much interest on that side of the ball very much in this game. Every once in a while, he would actively contest shots to get stops, but it was frustrating that he didn’t seem to be willing to consistently give a very good effort on the defensive end in this game.
Even still, he is still a very talented prospect that managed to show that he can be a terrific low post scorer, and he can rack up assists when he is focused. Kuminga will need to improve his outside shot and he will need to consistently give more effort on the defensive end, but he is a very talented, high-upside prospect whose strong athletic gifts and set of skills will likely enable him to be a sure bet to go in the lottery in the 2021 draft.
Jalen Green did not have a very good game in his team’s double-digit loss to Delaware. He is a high-flying guard that has made a number of breathtaking plays to help his team get off to a solid start this season. He’s also turned in some excellent performances to the point where he may be starting to enter the stratosphere of the number one overall pick conversation in the same breath of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs. Against the Blue Coats though, Green just did not shoot the ball very well at all. Green scored just 8 points on 4 of 13 shooting, he missed all 7 of his three-point attempts, but he did manage to get 5 assists and 2 steals in this game.
Green did a terrific job of scoring on hustle plays. He thrives at scoring on fast breaks, and his tremendous speed and athletic gifts enable him to rack up points when he’s able to get out to score in the open court. He ran the floor to score on a thunderous dunk on the break. He also ran the floor, caught a lob pass, and then scored on a magnetic, alley-oop dunk on a breakaway another time. Plus, he also drove in to score on an acrobatic, smooth flip layup in transition.
Plus, he showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble. Green was able to split a double team to score on an acrobatic, switch of hands layup, and he has a blindingly fast first-step that allows him to blow past defenders with ease. However, he had trouble connecting on mid-range or three-point shots, and he really struggled to knock down outside shots against Delaware.
He also showcased adequate playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving. He also throws solid interior passes as well as passes from the post that can help him rack up assists. He throws good touch passes, and he can find teammates on the move. Plus, Green is a speedy playmaking guard that can consistently get into the lane to generate offense for his team. On the other hand, he had a tendency to play too fast and out of control, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. He had a ball ripped away from him on a drive. Another time, he was called for traveling, which led to a long two-point score being wiped off the board. He also lost the ball on a drive another time, as the ball slipped out of his hands and ended up into the hands of his defender. He also threw a weak pass that ended up getting intercepted. Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Green was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive boards. On one play, he was able to push a ball up the court after getting a defensive rebound once.
Also, he played fairly average defense in this game. Green did a good job of getting his hands on passes to get steals, and he also would sometimes contest three-point shots to force misses. He was able to hustle back on defense to stay in front of an opposing ball handler in transition to force his man to commit a ball-handling turnover. Another time, he actively contested a three to get a stop for his team. However, he would tend to have lapses defensively. There were times where he would be loafing on the defensive end, as he would not hustle back to try to help his team prevent fast break scores. Other times, he would take bad angles when defending screens and would sometimes over-help in the paint, and he would sag too far off of shooters to allow three-point baskets to them. On another play, he lost track of his man on a backdoor cut to allow a basket.
Overall, Jalen Green didn’t have his best game, but he still was able to show his potential as a scorer off the dribble, in transition, and he also made some solid plays as a facilitator and defender when he was on the court. However, he really struggled with his outside shot, was too turnover prone, and he also tended to have lapses defensively. Despite all of that, he has played very well this season, and this was just a bad performance that he put out in a season where he’s put together plenty of strong performances. Green is a very talented prospect that has excelled in the G-League on most nights, and he is still a lock to go in the top 5 on draft day.
Isaiah Todd also didn’t play very well in this match, but he was able to have some good moments in his team’s lopsided loss to Delaware. Despite not shooting the ball well, he showed versatile scoring skills, and he is a high-motor player that will compete on both ends of the floor.
Todd excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He was able to use a nifty ball fake on a quick drive in transition to score on a thunderous dunk late in this game. He also barreled in to draw free throws on traffic on a drive in transition another time.
He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers in this game. Todd used a crossover to make a smooth, pull-up jumper from just inside the arc, as he was able to make a long two-point shot. He also used a jab step to make a fadeaway jumper from the mid-range on the baseline. However, he also missed his fair share of mid-range jumpers. He also missed on a one-legged, turnaround, fadeaway jumper when posting up another time. He also missed on all of his three-point attempts that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.
Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills. Todd can pass out of the post, as he was able to find an open corner shooter to notch an assist. He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he also handles the ball well. On the other hand, there was one play where he dropped a low entry pass that led to a team turnover on a separate possession.
He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Todd was able to leap up to get a defensive board, and he was able to save a ball to help his team get an offensive rebound on another play. On the other hand, there was one play where he was unable to get a rebound in his area.
Defensively, he looked to be about average. Todd was able to run in to tie up an opponent on a drive to force a jump ball, and he also won the tip off to get a steal. He also would contest jumpers to force misses, and he also was able to alter a mid-range shot to get a stop another time. However, sometimes he would sag too far off of shooters, which would lead his team to allow scores to them. There was one play where he didn’t pick up a man, and it left his teammate to have to guard two people in a scramble situations. He also got beat off of a drive to allow a dunk to an opponent. He also got outmuscled to allow a score in the post another time.
Overall, Isaiah Todd didn’t have his best game, but he kept competing, and he was able to make some solid plays late in the fourth quarter. He will still need to improve his shot selection and focus defensively, but his ability to shoot, make tough shots, and handle the ball combined with having strong athletic gifts could enable him to be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2021 draft.
Daishen Nix also did not play very well in his team’s loss to Delaware. He struggled to knock down shots, and he was quite turnover prone on offense, but he did seem to defend fairly well in this game. He flashed the ability to score off the dribble. Nix drove the baseline to his left, and he managed to score on a strong, switch of hands layup. However, he had trouble scoring on drives or in the post. Sometimes he would not go up strong enough, and another time, he missed the sot too hard when posting up. He also pulled up to take a three-point shot, but he missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.
However, he was quite turnover prone in this game. For the positives, Nix is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can throw solid interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He can find them on the move, and he also will get the ball to open shooters. However, he tended to throw loopy, up for grabs passes that would get intercepted. On the plus side, Nix did a great job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to get boards, and sometimes he would push the ball up the floor after getting defensive rebounds.
Plus, he also played fairly good defense in this game. Nix really excelled at intercepting passes to get steals and deflections, and he also was able to hustle back to block a shot off of a drive in transition due to possessing good length and timing. He also managed to contest a three to force a miss another time. Sometimes though, he would lose track of his man on cuts, and he also took the wrong angle when defending a screen to allow a score once. There was another time where he was loafing on the defensive end, and he didn’t hustle back, as his team ended up allowing a score in transition.
Overall, Daishen Nix didn’t have his best game, but he still was very active as a rebounder and defender, and he may have defended the best amongst the draft-eligible prospects in this particular contest. He has been putting forth solid effort on the defensive end lately. He’s also a solid playmaker that has very good size to play either backcourt position, and he can reliably run the point. On the other hand, he’s been inconsistent as a scorer, and he will need to improve his outside shot. Though he may not have nearly as much upside as the other three prospects, Nix’s basketball IQ, size for his position, and ability to run the team at the point could make him a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range on draft day.
With the G-League Ignite’s loss to the Delaware Blue Coats, the G-League Ignite are now 7-5 on the season. With three games left in the regular season, it will be very interesting to see if the G-League Ignite can win enough games to make it to the playoffs.
For the Delaware Blue Coats, 7 different players scored in double figures. Philadelphia 76ers’ assignee, 6-5 guard Rayjon Tucker scored 21 points, he led with a +29 in this game, and he also crossed up Kuminga to score on a high-flying dunk in this game.
Also for Delaware, Former Houston Rockets’ guard, Michael Frazier II scored 20 points, as he made 3 threes off the bench. Former Virginia Cavaliers’ forward, Braxton Key shot the ball really well, as he scored 19 points on 8 of 10 shooting, made all three of his three-pointers, and he also excelled as a scorer off the dribble and in the post.
Philadelphia 76ers’ assignee and rookie big man, Paul Reed also played well for Delaware, especially early on, and he would outwork his opponents to score on hustle plays and to get rebounds. He struggled a bit with his shot later on, but he still managed to score 13 points, as well as get 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in this game. Jared Brownridge made 4 threes to score 12 points. Also, former Orlando Magic guard, Jordan Bone and former Washington Wizards’ guard Justin Robinson also managed to score in double figures against the G-League Ignite.
Also, Oklahoma City Blue’s rookie center, Omer Yurtseven scored 34 points, made 2 threes, and he also had 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks for his team in their loss to Long Island. He has played well in the G-League this season, and he could play his way onto a two-way contract or to a ten-day contract with an NBA team later this year.
Raptors 905’s big man, Henry Ellenson scored 31 points off the bench, and he also made 8 three-pointers in his team’s close win over the Canton Charge. Like Yurtseven, Ellenson has also played well this year, and he could deserving of an NBA call-up later this season.
Overall, for the G-League Ignite, this was not a good game for them all around, as they were blown out in a loss to Delaware. They really struggled to make shots, they committed too many turnovers, and there seemed to be a lot of defensive breakdowns that they had over the course of this game. Delaware really seemed to outwork them, and the Blue Coats’ veteran expertise and team play really seemed to prevail in this match. Hopefully for the G-League Ignite, they will find a way to recover from suffering a bad loss such as this one, and they will probably need to win at least one more game, maybe two games to be able to get into the NBA G-League playoffs.
Time will tell to see if they will be able to get in or not. If anything, the G-League Ignite has been very fun to watch this year, and the NBA G-League has been fun to watch in general. Hopefully, we will get to see more prospects trickle into the G-League, and this could be a game-changer if this could be a permanent new path for draft prospects. This avenue could help them learn how to play against pros and also learn schemes that could help them adjust more quickly to the NBA.