Observations from the G-League Ignite’s Loss to Rio Grande Valley

March 5th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, the G-League Ignite had an important game against the Rio Grande Valley, and the winner of this match would improve their odds to make it to the playoffs.  Unfortunately, the G-League Ignite got blown in a loss to the Vipers, but Jalen Green managed to score 22 points, and Isaiah Todd also scored 16 points in a losing effort for their team.  Jonathan Kuminga was unable to play due to having knee soreness that he sustained from the previous game.  Here are my thoughts on how Green, Todd, Daishen Nix, and Princepal Singh fared, as well as how they currently may stack up as prospects for the NBA.  For those that are interested in the box score of this game, the link is here.

The G-League Ignite’s Jalen Green scored 22 points in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley yesterday.
(Photo:
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jalen Green played fairly well in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley.  He excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, but he was fairly turnover prone, and he also seemed to make a litany defensive mistakes in this game.

Green did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  He is a speedy, fleet-footed guard that can consistently get to the rim to score around the basket.  He would score on speedy, acrobatic layups at the rim, and he can score on double-pump and switch of hands layup while getting a lot of hang time to do so.  He also managed to score on a speedy drive while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  Plus, he also showed a knack for getting fouled by defenders to get to the free throw line often. 

Plus, he also showed a satisfactory ability to make pull-up jumpers from the mid-range.  He also managed to draw free throws on a quick, spot-up three off the catch.  However, Green missed on all seven of his three-point attempts that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Green can throw good passes off the dribble, and he can throw crisp interior passes to find teammates on the move.  He has fairly good court vision, and he can rack up assists when he plays under control.  However, sometimes he would be prone to committing traveling violations due to not establishing the pivot foot before he would dribble the ball.  He also dribbled the ball before losing it while colliding with a defender, and he didn’t even chase after the loose ball to try to get it back.  Other times, he tended to throw careless passes that would get intercepted.  He threw a lazy bounce pass that got picked off, and he also threw an ill-advised jump pass another time.

He also was able to get his fair share of rebounds, as he was able to get boards on both sides of the ball.  However, there was one play where he was caught ball watching and just wandered around, and he didn’t box out his opponent, which caused his team to allow a tip dunk.

Defensively though, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, he was able to get his hands on passes to get steals.  He also would sometimes contest jumpers to force misses.  He also managed to rotate to contest a drive to get another stop.  Every once in a while, he will actively guard his man and apply considerable ball pressure.  On the downside, he would tend to get caught and stuck on screens, which would cause him to allow opponents to get by him off the dribble, and he also would give up open jump shots to allow scores to them.  He also would sometimes take bad angles when trying to go around screens.  Other times, he would take bad gambles, as he would whiff on steal attempts and bite on pump fakes that would put him out of position.  He also would sometimes sag too far off of shooters to allow them to score on threes.  Other times, he would not always actively contest shots in transition, as he would give up on plays to allow easy scores to them.

In general, Jalen Green is a very athletic, speedy combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he is a high-flyer that can make numerous plays on both ends of the floor.  However, he can be inconsistent in knocking down outside shots, and he can tend to gamble too much defensively.  Currently, he looks to be a lock to be a top 5 pick.  He could end up being a superstar in the NBA in the right situation, and he could end up being like a young Derrick Rose when he was with the Chicago Bulls in the association.

Isaiah Todd also played fairly well in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley.  He generally excelled as an inside scorer and as a facilitator, and he was able to make some defensive plays, but he also did not make a three-point shot, and he also made his fair share of mistakes on the defensive end in this game.

Todd excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would throw down powerful dunks off of a cut, roll, and a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.  He also managed to score on a strong layup off of a drive in transition.  Plus, he also managed to draw free throws on a dunk attempt after running the floor to get the ball on a break another time.

He also did a fairly good job of scoring in the post.  He was able to score on a one-legged, turnaround fadeaway jumper from the baseline due to possessing good footwork and scoring touch.  Todd also used a pivot move to score on a turnaround, jump hook off the glass.  Sometimes though, he would sometimes not find his shooting touch, which would occasionally lead to misses.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers.  Todd was able to make a long two from the corner, as he had just stepped on the three-point line.  However, sometimes he would take rushed, off-balanced shots, as he struggled to make mid-range jumpers consistently.  He also didn’t take nearly enough threes, and he also missed on both of his three-point shots that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.

Also, Todd displayed fairly good playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he was able to notch a pair of assists.  He was able to throw a sharp interior pass to set up a score for a teammate, and he also did a good job of finding open shooters on offense.  He also set a screen to help get a teammate an open jump shot another time.  However, there was one play where he dropped a pass on a cut that led to a turnover once.

He also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Todd was able to leap up to haul in plenty of boards on both ends of the floor, and he also was able to use a pump fake to score on a powerful dunk off of an offensive board.

He also played adequate defense in this game.  Todd was able to rotate to make a chase down block from behind to a teammate due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing.  He also would often contest threes as well as shots in the paint to force misses.  He also would aggressively defend opposing ball handlers at times, and he was able to get an opponent to commit a traveling violation.  On the downside, he generally struggled to defend quicker ball handlers out on the perimeter, as he would not always move his feet very well, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also would give up too much space to shooters to allow them to score on three-point shots, and he also bit on a pump fake that put his team in a scramble situation another time.

In general, Isaiah Todd had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley.  He excelled as an inside scorer, and he also was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.  On the downside, he also did not make a three-point shot, and he also made his fair share of defensive mistakes in this game.  Still, he has played better than expected in the G-League this season, and he is a talented prospect that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2021 draft.

Daishen Nix did not play well in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley.  He struggled to knock down shots, and he was very turnover prone in this contest. Nix flashed an ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to use a spin move to score on a strong layup off the glass.  However, he would sometimes rush his shots that would lead to misses, and he also had his shot blocked another time.

He also did a decent job of knocking down mid-range jumpers.  Nix was able to make an open long two from just inside the arc, but he also threw up an air-ball when hoisting up a pull-up, mid-range jumper.  He also took a couple of three-point shots, but he missed on both of those occasions from beyond the arc.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Nix is an unselfish player that will swing the ball to shooters to get assists, and he also was able to throw a nifty drop-off pass off the dribble to set up a scoring chance for a teammate another time.  However, he also threw a couple of hasty passes that ended up getting intercepted.  He also would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers due to carelessness, as he stepped out of bounds once, and he also had a ball ripped away another time.  He also threw a pass that was dropped that led to another turnover. Nix did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also was able to push the ball up the court after getting a defensive board once, and he also would tip balls to help his team get extra defensive boards.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Nix was able to rotate to close out on a three-point shooter to force a miss.  Another time, he fought hard through a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler, and he indirectly helped force a passing turnover.  Another time, he defending an opposing ball handler aggressively, and he indirectly was able to force an opponent to lose the ball another time.  However, sometimes he would struggle to guard quicker players, as he would get beat off the dribble.  Other times, he would not even contest shots despite being in the area to allow scores to his opponents.

Overall, Daishen Nix did not have his best game, but he is a smart, skilled playmaker that can run the point effectively.  He will need to improve his outside shot and defense, but he could end up being a second round pick in the upcoming draft.

Princepal Singh was able to get some extended playing time in Kuminga’s absence in this game, but he did not seem to take advantage of this opportunity, as he did not play very well in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley. Singh used a jab step, but missed on a long two-pointer from the baseline.  He almost had opportunities to shoot the basketball, but after using a pump fake move later on, his teammate was called for a three seconds in the key that led to a team turnover.  He also had a ball poked away when facing up from just inside the arc that led to another turnover.

On the downside, Singh was quite turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, he was able to set an on-ball screen and rolled to the rim early on.  However, he threw a weak, careless pass as the ball slipped out of his hands, and it ended up getting intercepted.  He also had a ball ripped away just as he was about to shoot another long two to commit a late-game turnover. Though he didn’t get many rebounds, Singh was able to leap up to get a defensive board in this game.

Defensively, he struggled in this game.  On one good play, Singh was able to intercept an errant pass that was thrown right to him to get a steal.  However, he struggled to defend quicker players in this match.  He briefly got confused as to who to guard when defending a screen, and he then got beat badly off the dribble to allow his man to score on a dunk.  He had plenty of trouble trying to defend opponents off the dribble, as he doesn’t possess great foot-speed.  On another possession, he sagged too far off of a shooter, which led him to allow his man to score on a bank three-point shot off the glass.

Overall, while it’s good for Singh’s development to get minutes, it was probably not good for the G-League Ignite to play him so early in this game, as he didn’t seem ready to log important minutes, and he struggled considerably in his team’s loss to Rio Grande Valley.  Singh needs one more game of getting substantial playing time to make his case of why he may be a legitimate prospect for the upcoming draft. 

On the downside, that could also come at the expense of his team’s chances to reach the playoffs, and the chances that he may struggle if he gets significant playing time on Saturday against Austin may be high.   Singh may be a long shot to be drafted this year, but the good moments that he had against Salt Lake City have suggested that he may be worth getting looks from NBA teams in the draft.

Other Notes:

For Rio Grande Valley, six different players scored in double figures in their win over the G-League Ignite.

Kevin Porter Jr. went coast to coast to score a speedy, magnetic dunk off of a drive in transition to help Rio Grande Valley in this game.
(Source: Twitter/@nbagleague)

Houston Rockets’ assignee and guard, Kevin Porter Jr. scored 28 points, and he also had 10 assists, and 9 rebounds in this game. Armoni Brooks scored 26 points, and made 5 threes in this game. Josh Reaves scored 20 points.

Rio Grande Valley’s Trevelin Queen jumped the pass to get a steal, and he then drove up court to score on a jaw-dropping, rim-rocking, windmill dunk on the break.
(Source: Twitter/@nbagleague)

Also, former New Mexico State star guard, Trevelin Queen and former Toronto Raptors’ center, Dewan Hernandez scored 15 points each for Rio Grande Valley. Anthony Lamb scored 11 points in this game.

For the G-League Ignite, Brandon Ashley scored 18 points, and Bobby Brown scored 15 points. Reggie Hearn made 14 points, and he also made 4 three-pointers in their loss to Rio Grande Valley.

Iowa Wolves’ Dakarai Tucker scored 38 points and made 10 three-pointers in his team’s loss to Raptors 905.

Other Notes, Part II:

Now that the G-League Ignite are now currently at 7-7, it now looks to be very unlikely for them to make it to the playoffs.  They will face a very tough test on Saturday against the Austin Spurs, and their last game of the regular season will be at 7PM EST on ESPN+.

For the G-League Ignite to have any chance to win and maybe make it to the playoffs, they’ll need a healthy Jonathan Kuminga, but it is unknown if Kuminga will be able to play against Austin, as he missed yesterday’s game due to knee soreness. In any case for the G-League Ignite, they’ll need to play fast and get out in transition, they’ll need to make threes, and the G-League Ignite will need to defend much better.

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