Thoughts on Ron Holland, Malique Lewis, and Izan Almansa

January 18th, 2024

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Ron Holland and the G-League Ignite play against Malique Lewis and Mexico City.  It was an opportunity to watch Malique Lewis play in a live basketball game, as well as another opportunity to see Holland and the G-League Ignite play once again.  Both players played well, and Holland especially thrived in this game, and on this day, the Mexico City Capitanes were able to get a narrow win over the G-League Ignite.  Here are my thoughts on how they and other various prospects fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA. Also, for those that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.

G-League Ignite’s 6-8 forward, Ron Holland scored 24 points, and he had 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in his team’s loss to Mexico City last night.
(Photo: David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ron Holland had a superb showing in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He really excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a very athletic, high-motor swingman that made a lot of hustle plays to help his team in this game.

Holland showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, especially in transition.  He would run the floor to get the ball down court, which allowed him to score on layups and dunks.  He was able to utilize a quick Euro-step to score on a layup, and he also was able to steal a ball away from an opposing ball handler and drive up court to score on a high-flying dunk in traffic.

Ron Holland was able to get a quick steal and threw down an explosive dunk in traffic in a terrific sequence that he put forth in last night’s game. (Source: Twitter/@nbagleague)

He also showed a good ability to score off the dribble.  He has a quick first step to the hoop, and he has good strength, body control, and finishing ability that allow him to score and get free throws around the basket.  He also was able to score on a quick floater.  Plus, he also showed the ability to post up, and he was able to use a drop step move to score in traffic while getting fouled.  Sometimes though, he would take tough, rushed shots, which would lead to misses.  

Holland was able to use a jab step to make a smooth corner three to show off his developing three-point shot.  However, he struggled a bit more in the mid-range area, as he also would tend to miss on his floaters.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, Holland is an unselfish player that can make some solid passes to get the ball to his teammates.  He was able to handle the ball up court and make a drive and kick pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  He also showed that he can ably throw interior passes to find open teammates on the move.  Sometimes though, he would throw hasty passes that would go astray due to rushing.  Other times, he would over-dribble, which would lead him to get balls poked away by defenders.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Sometimes, Holland would grab defensive boards and quickly push the pace afterwards.  Holland also played solid defense in this game.  He would hustle to poke balls away and jump on loose balls to get steals, and he is a tenacious defender that would hound opposing ball handlers to force turnovers.  He also was able to block a couple of shots when defending opponents off the dribble, and he showed that he can quickly stay in front of his man.  On the downside, sometimes he would play too aggressively, as there was one play where he committed a reach-in foul in the post that led him to also allow the score.  Another time, he didn’t actively contest a drive around the basket, which led his team to give up the basket.

Overall, Ron Holland played very well, as he especially excelled as a scorer and defender in this game.  He is a terrific athlete and is a high-motor player whose intense play combined with his skill set may enable him to have the highest upside amongst any prospect in the 2024 draft.  He’ll still need to be a more consistent outside shooter and play more under control on offense, but Holland is an immensely talented prospect that could end up being the top pick of the 2024 draft, and he could end up being a very good player in the NBA.

Malique Lewis scored 13 points and had 6 rebounds to help lead Mexico City to a 106-100 win over the G-League Ignite last night. (Photo: David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mexico City’s 6-8 forward, Malique Lewis also played very well to help lead his team to a win over the G-League Ignite. He’s an athletic, energetic forward that excelled at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor, and he also showed off an emerging outside shot that could complement his game very well at the next level.

Lewis showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would cut to the hoop to score, and he was able to score on a strong dunk off of a backdoor cut.  He also ran the floor to get the ball on the break, which enabled him to score in transition.

Mexico City’s forward, Malique Lewis threw down a powerful, baseline dunk off of a cut in his team’s 106-100 win over the G-League Ignite last night. (Source: Twitter/@CapitanesCDMX)

He also was able to score on a strong, right-handed drive to the hoop.  Though he didn’t take many threes in this game, Lewis was able to make a quick, corner three to show off his shooting skills.

He also is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass, as he will look to find the open man, and he also was able to make a drive and kick pass to get the ball to a shooter another time.  Lewis also did a good job of taking care of the basketball, as he did not turn the ball over once in this game.

Plus, Lewis also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would chase down balls to get plenty of boards for his team.

Also, he played satisfactory defense.  Lewis showed a knack for blocking shots to help his team protect the paint.  He also ran in to intercept a skip pass to get a steal.  Plus, he also contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss another time.  However, there was one time where he didn’t move his feet that well and struggled to defend an opponent in transition, which led him to commit a foul that time.  On another possession, he played too aggressively and committed a foul off the ball by running into an opponent out on the perimeter.

Overall, Malique Lewis turned in a strong showing to help get his team a win over the G-League Ignite.  He consistently made solid plays when he was on the court.  He could be a solid pick for an NBA team, especially in the late first to the second round range, and he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Izan Almansa also played well for the G-League Ignite in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He especially thrived on the offensive end, and his ability to get the ball on short rolls really enabled him to excel as a scorer on the move.

Almansa showed a knack for scoring off of short rolls.  He would get the ball on short rolls, which would allow him to consistently score on floaters, and he also would drive to the hoop off of short rolls to also score around the basket.  On one nifty play, he was able to get the ball on a short roll, and then used a nice spin move off the dribble to score.  He also was able to score on a powerful dunk off of a roll to the rim.  He generally did a good job of scoring on off-ball motion plays, especially early in the first half.

Plus he also was able to show some low post scoring skills, and Almansa was able to back his man down to score on a turnaround jump hook.  He struggled a bit to make shots off of rolls late in the game, but generally Almansa excelled at moving off the ball and as the roll man on offense.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, Almansa showed that he can capably pass out of the post.  He also set a firm screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot to score that time.  However, there was another play where he dropped a lead pass on the break out of bounds that led to a turnover.

He was able to get his fair share of boards, though it was not nearly enough for someone his size.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best in this game.  For the positives, he was able to block a shot in the post, and he also was able to contest some shots in the paint to help force some misses.  On defense, Almansa seemed to be at his best when defending in the post.  However, sometimes he would play too aggressively, as he would take bad gambles and commit fouls, which would put him out of position defensively.  Other times, he would be slow to react, as he would give open shooters too much space and would be late on his rotations, which would allow them to get open shots to score.  He had some trouble guard quicker players out in space, and his team especially struggled to defend in screen situations.

Overall, Izan Almansa had a solid showing in this game, and he is a mobile, energetic big man that excelled as a scorer, especially on the move.  He’ll need to improve his defense, but his size, motor,  and his above average athletic gifts combined with his production at the G-League level could enable him to be a first round pick in the 2024 draft.

Tyler Smith had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  Although he didn’t attempt a single three-pointer in this game, he is a very athletic big man that thrived at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he also made some solid defensive plays in this game.

Smith generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to get the ball on a short roll as he drove in to score on a smooth layup while getting fouled.  He also caught a lob pass off of a roll, which enabled him to score on a very athletic, alley-oop dunk.

Also, he was able to use a drop step move to score on a smooth, stepthrough layup out of the post.  However, Smith generally struggled more to score out of the post, as he would sometimes rush his shots, and he didn’t always show a good shooting touch when looking to score on those possessions.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Smith is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he was able to get an assist once.  However, he also threw a hasty pass that got intercepted another time.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Smith was able to get boards on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Smith is an active help defender that will look to make plays on the ball.  He was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  However, sometimes he would be late on his rotations, and he would tend to have lapses defensively.  There was one play where he trailed his man on a cut and committed a foul that time.  There was another time where he and his teammate were defending in a screen situation, and they ended up both guarding the ball handler, but no one guarded the roll man as they allowed a score inside.

Overall, Tyler Smith had his ups and downs, but he was able to have some very good moments in this game.  He will need to be more assertive in looking to take outside shots in games and will need to be a more disciplined defender, but his size, skill set, and athleticism makes him an interesting first round prospect for the 2024 draft.

Babacar Sane also played fairly well in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He showed off versatile scoring skills and also made some solid defensive plays in this game. Sane did a decent job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to use a pump fake to score on a strong drive while getting fouled.  However, sometimes he would take tough, rushed shots that would lead to misses.  He also was able to make a smooth corner three to show off his shooting skills.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone in this game.  On one good play, Sane threw a long, accurate outlet pass to find an open teammate on the break.  However, he would tend to be careless when handling the ball, as he lost the ball once out of bounds, and he was called for a double-dribbling violation another time.  He also threw a bad pass that got intercepted another time.

Plus, he also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  However, there was one play where he didn’t box out his man, which led his team to allow a put back score.  He also defended well.  Sane was able to jump on a dropped pass to get a steal.  He also was able to contest a three point shot to force a miss and a shot clock violation.  Another time, he and a teammate forced an opposing ball handler to commit a shot clock violation.  On the downside, there was one play where he got beat on a cut to the hoop, which led his team to commit a foul that time.

Overall, Sane had a solid showing in this game, and he made some solid plays despite not getting the ball too often when he was on the court.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that has a versatile skill set, and he is a second round prospect that could end up being a 3 and D role player in the NBA.

London Johnson also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He excelled at making threes and scoring off the dribble, and he showed a solid ability to knock jumpers from the mid-range area.  He showed that he can ably score off the dribble and out of the post, and he was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble.

He also showed off solid playmaking skills.  Johnson was able to make an assortment of passes to rack up assists, and he also threw an accurate lob pass to set up an early score for a teammate.  He also showed that he can find teammates on the move.  But sometimes, he would throw hasty passes that would get intercepted.  He also over-dribbled another time, which led to an early ball-handling turnover.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Johnson was able to get a defensive board against Mexico City.  Defensively, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, he was active defensively.  On the downside, he generally struggled to stay in front of his man, and he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also would play too aggressively, which would lead him to wind up being out of position.

Overall, London Johnson played fairly well, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He will need to improve his defense, but he is an agile, skilled point guard that projects to be a second round prospect for the 2024 draft.

Thierry Darlan had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Mexico City.  He is an athletic, energetic guard that would make hustle plays, but he also was turnover prone, and he didn’t really look to take outside shots in this game.

Darlan showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to score on a contested, running floater while getting fouled once, and he also showed that he can ably draw fouls to get to the free throw line.  However, he would tend to take tough, off-balanced rushed shots that would lead to misses.  He also was fairly turnover prone in this game.  He threw a bad bounce pass that got intercepted.  He also over-dribbled and had a ball stripped that led to another turnover.

Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He also played perhaps adequate defense in this game.  He would apply significant ball pressure, and he was able to get into a solid stance, where he would use his length and activity to help force opponents to commit ball-handling turnovers.  He also contested a three to force a miss another time.  However, sometimes he would have lapses defensively.  There was one play where he got back but didn’t contest a shot around the basket, which led his team to give up the score.  Another time, he ended up trailing his man on a drive to allow another basket.

Overall, Thierry Darlan had his ups and downs, but he is an athletic, energetic combo guard that will look to handle the ball and defend in games.  He will need to improve his jump shot and cut down on the turnovers, but he is a talented playmaker that could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2024 draft.

Dink Pate also was able to get some run with the G-League Ignite midway through this game.  He didn’t play much nor especially well, but it was good to see that he was able to get some playing time against Mexico City.

He missed both of his shots on offense.  Pate missed on an aggressive drive to the hoop, and he also missed an open three-point shot off the catch.  For the positives, he passed and handled the ball well.  He was able to throw an accurate bounce pass to find a teammate ahead to set up a score for him on the break.  Pate also brought the ball up the court another time to show off his point forward skills.

Also, Pate was able to leap up to get a defensive rebound to show off some of his rebounding skills.  He also looked to be fairly average defensively.  For the positives, he was able to contest mid-range jumpers to force misses.  However, he had some lapses on the defensive end.  He got beat off the dribble to allow a score once.  He also was late to contest a corner three in transition that led his team to give up another basket.

Overall, Dink Pate didn’t have a great game, but it’s good that he’s finally getting some run in the NBA G-League.  It’s unclear as to where he would rate as a prospect for the 2025 draft, but given his length, athleticism, and potential, one would surmise that he would likely project somewhere in the mid to late first round range by then.  He’ll need to refine his overall game, and he’ll especially need to improve his jump shot, but he showed off some playmaking and defensive skills, and he could project to be a versatile role player at the NBA level.All in all, those are my thoughts on how Holland, Lewis, and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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