Thoughts on the G-League Ignite In Their Game Against The Memphis Hustle

February 24th, 2021

By Alan Lu

This time around, I took the time to watch the G-League Ignite play against the Memphis Hustle.  The Ignite played much better than how they performed against Long Island, as they were more competitive and played more cohesively, and they were fueled by the strong all-around play of Jonathan Kuminga, and they were able to get solid scoring production off the bench from former NBA veteran Jarrett Jack to lead them to get the narrow victory to improve their record to 6-3.  Here are my thoughts on how Kuminga, Nix, Jalen Green, and Isaiah Todd 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, here is the link.

The G-League Ignite’s Jonathan Kuminga had a strong all-around game, as he scored 17 points, made 2 threes, and he played well on both ends of the floor to lead his team to a comeback win over the Memphis Hustle.
(Photo:
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images, via SB Nation’s Grizzly Bear Blues)

Jonathan Kuminga had a strong showing, as he scored 17 points, and he also had 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, and he also finished with a +6 in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle.  He scored early and often, and it certainly helped that his team made a concerted effort to get him post touches early on, but he also threw down a big, windmill dunk after getting a steal that really enabled him to play very good and inspired defense in the third quarter of this match.

Kuminga shot the ball really well, especially from downtown.  He really excelled at making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he took advantage of getting the space to shoot to knock down long-range jumpers.

Jonathan Kuminga quickly intercepts a pass and threw down a thunderous, windmill dunk in transition to spark a rally for his team in the third quarter of this match.
(Source: Twitter/@nbagleague)

Plus, he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Kuminga was able to quickly jump a pass, and he then dribbled up court to throw down a high-flying, windmill dunk on the break that basically changed the complexity of the game, and it was a head-turning moment that gave his team the momentum they needed to come back and win this match.  Also, Kuminga was able to draw free throws on a quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.   He also managed to score on a strong put back off the glass in traffic due to possessing a good motor.

Also, Kuminga showed a fairly good ability to score in the post.  He was able to score on a quick turnaround jumper while getting an extra free throw early on.  Plus, he also used a pump fake and lowered his shoulder to draw free throws on a crafty, up and under move another time.  He possesses very good footwork and shooting touch to consistently score on the block.  However, sometimes he would miss on floaters, and he also missed on a turnaround jumper another time.

He also showed off fairly good playmaking skills in this game.  Kuminga is a good passer out of the post, and he sees the floor well.  He can ably pass out of the post, and he also used a drop step to throw a smart drop-off pass from the block to set up a score for a teammate around the basket once.  Kuminga is an accurate passer that also dribbled up to throw an accurate lob to set up an alley-oop dunk for a teammate on the break.  However, sometimes he would struggle to handle the ball in traffic.  He was called for a clear out to commit an offensive foul and a turnover when posting up and trying to prevent a pesky David Stockton from stealing the ball away from him.  He also over-dribbled into traffic and had the ball ripped away from him.  Late in this match, he was called for a charging foul on a drive in transition, which led him to foul out of this game.

Plus, he also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  Kuminga would leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He was able to get tough, strong rebounds in traffic, and he would sometimes push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds.  However, there was one play where he forgot to box out, as he allowed an opponent to get an offensive rebound in his area, and he ended up fouling his man to commit a foul and allow a put back score that time.

Adding to that, Kuminga played adequate defense in this game.  Kuminga is a rangy, athletic defender that can cover a lot of ground to help his team get stops on the court.  He excelled at helping his team get steals and blocks.  He ran in to back-tap an opposing ball handler in the backcourt to get a steal, and he also jumped a pass quickly to get another later on.  He also would rotate to block shots hard to help his team protect the paint due to possessing very good length, athleticism, and timing.  He also would use his length to contest jumpers, and he also would contest shots in the post as well as off of drives to force misses.  He also managed to deflect a pass out of bounds another time.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend opponents out on the perimeter.  He would sometimes not move his feet that well, and there were quite a few possessions where he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would bite on pump fakes, which would put him out of position defensively.  He also would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off of screens, as he would not always pick up a man in time.

Here were some of the best moments from Jonathan Kuminga in the G-League Ignite’s 104-101 comeback win over the Memphis Hustle in the NBA G-League.
(Source: Twitter/@nbagleague)

In general, Jonathan Kuminga played a strong all-around game, and he especially excelled as a shooter and scorer to lead his team to a riveting, comeback win over the Memphis Hustle.  He appears to be gaining ground on the top 3 pick conversation, and there is no doubt that he is a lock to be a top 5 pick for the upcoming draft.  He is a very talented prospect that has tremendous upside, and he has the skills to end up being a very good player in the NBA.

G-League Ignite’s 6-5 point guard, Daishen Nix had a decent showing in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle.  Aside from the turnovers, he played well in this game, and he seemed to have played inspired basketball on both ends of the court.  What was even more encouraging was that they relied on him, as he played heavy minutes down the stretch in a tight game.

Nix shot the ball well to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He was able to pull up to make a long two-point shot early on.  He also used a crafty pump fake to draw a defender in the air, as he was able to use a nifty, old man trick to score on an open, pull-up three later on.  He showed a strong pull-up game, and it is encouraging that he was able to show an improved jump shot in this match against the Memphis Hustle.

He also showed a fairly good ability to score on hustle plays.  Nix showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line often.  He showed an improved first step off the dribble and he would accelerate to the hoop well, and he would generate enough foot-speed to the point where he could use his strength to overpower his defenders to often get to the foul line on drives in transition and as well as on a put back attempt after grabbing an offensive rebound.  However, sometimes he would struggle to score in traffic, as he also had a couple of his shots blocked.

He struggled to score consistently on half-court drives to the hoop.  On one good play, Nix was able to drive aggressively off of a screen to score on a strong, finger-roll layup.  However, he sometimes had trouble getting enough hang time or speed when driving to the hoop, which would sometimes lead him to miss awkwardly when he wouldn’t be able to get foul calls.

On the downside, Nix was quite turnover prone on offense.  His playmaking skills are usually his strongest traits when he is on the floor, and Nix is usually able to rack up assists effortlessly with smooth ease, and he normally would limit turnovers to a minimum.  However, he played a bit too recklessly at times, and he ended up committing a string of turnovers in the second half.  For the positives, Nix is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass and find the open man to set up scores for his teammates.  He also can throw crisp, outlet passes, and he will sometimes push the ball up the floor and lead fast breaks.  However, he had a tendency to commit charging fouls when driving or posting up.  He also would sometimes throw inaccurate interior passes that would go astray.  He also lost the ball carelessly once when driving to the hoop to lose it another time.

Still, Nix did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He was excellent at crashing the glass to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes push the ball up the court after getting defensive boards.  On the downside, there was one play where he mistimed his jump when pursuing a board, which enabled his opponent to get an offensive rebound in his area, and he ended up committing a reach-in foul afterwards.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Nix looked to give more effort, and he was more focused and dialed in on this side of the ball.  He was able to rotate to poke a ball away from a post player to get a steal.  He also hustled back on defense to force his opponent to commit a passing turnover another time.  However, he had a tendency to be caught ball watching and to over-help in the paint, which led him to allow an open three-point basket, and he also got beat on a cut to allow a score another time.  He also was beat quickly off the dribble once, and gave his man a free lane to the hoop to score.  Another time, he was defending in the high post, but didn’t even contest a fadeaway mid-range jumper, which led him to allow a score to a taller shooter.

Overall, Daishen Nix seemed to play better, as he gave more effort on both ends of the floor, and he played competent enough defense to not be a liability on that end of the court in this game.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer on offense, and he was able to play crunch time minutes in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle.  He will need to continue to improve his outside shot and defense, and he seems to be making strides to doing so.  Right now, he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the upcoming draft, and he could project to be a solid backup point guard in the NBA.

Jalen Green didn’t play nearly as well against the Memphis Hustle, but he was able to knock down some shots down the stretch to help his team get the win over them.  However, he had a couple of bad turnovers and forced up a lot of questionable shots early on, but he was able to get a clutch steal late in this game to help his team get the victory.

Green excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to use a misdirection play to score on a backdoor cut early on.  After getting the ball on a cut, he drove in, and used a pump fake to patiently score on a layup off the glass.  Later on, he was able to get the ball on another quick, backdoor cut to score on a tough, acrobatic, double-pump layup.

He also flashed the ability to knock down jumpers, especially from beyond the arc.  Green was able to make a quick, open corner three off the catch.  He also dribbled off of a screen and pulled up to make another three later on.  However, he also was quite streaky with his jump shot, and he especially had trouble making pull-up jumpers from the mid-range in this game.  In addition, despite having great speed to consistently get to the rim, it seemed that the defenders had geared up for him, and Green had trouble scoring on half-court drives.  He would tend to miss on rushed, off-balanced layups in traffic, he also missed a dunk by throwing it down too hard, and he also had a shot blocked another time.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Early on, Green threw a couple of hasty, inaccurate interior passes that ended up getting intercepted by his defenders, and he had trouble throwing feeding his teammates the basketball.  He was able to find his stride later on, though.  He was able to dribble off of a screen to throw a crisp, interior pass to a roll man to notch an assist, and Green made a solid pocket pass that time.  He also was able to kick a ball out to a shooter off the dribble to set up a scoring chance on another possession.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Green was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive boards, and he would tend to bring the ball up the court afterwards.  However, there was one possession where a ball went off his hands to an opponent, as his opponent ended up getting a defensive rebound instead.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average in this game.  For the positives, Green is an athletic, active help defender that can get steals and deflections for his team.  He would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also was able to pounce on a loose ball that his teammate deflected to get his team another steal.  He also was able to contest a three to force a miss.  Plus, he also rotated to double in the post, which later helped his team force his opponent to commit a traveling violation that time. 

On the other hand, he had a tendency to loaf on the defensive end, especially early in this match.  There would be times where he wouldn’t hustle back on defense, as his team would allow scores on fast breaks.  Another time, he didn’t pick up a man, as his teammate ended up having to guard two people, and his team allowed a three-point basket.  Other times, he would sag too far off of shooters and be caught ball watching, and he ended up getting beat on a cut once.  He also bit on a pump fake, which led him to be out of position to allow his man to score on a mid-range floater.

Overall, Jalen Green didn’t play nearly as well in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle, but he was able to make some solid plays in the fourth quarter to help his team get a close win over them.  He will need to play much better than how he did against them, and he will need to be a more focused defender when he is on the court.  Still, he has played very good basketball recently, and he looks to be a lock to be a top 5 pick in the 2021 draft.

Also, Isaiah Todd had an adequate showing in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle.  He is a good shooter that spaced the floor well for his team.  He didn’t get crunch time minutes down the stretch, but Todd still was able to score 10 points off the bench in this game.

Todd shot the ball well in this game to help provide his team with floor spacing on offense.  He showed a knack for making quick, open spot-up threes off the catch, and he also can knock down open jumpers on pick and pop plays.  He also was able to make a long two-point shot early on.  However, he was a bit streaky with his jump shot, and while he started off shooting the ball really well early on, he cooled off, as he ended up missing his fair share of three-pointers later on in this match.

He also showed an adequate ability to score in the post.  Todd was able to wrestle a ball away from a defender to get it on a roll to the rim, and he then turned to score on a thunderous, one-handed jam.  However, despite showing good footwork to get another shot off, he ended up missing a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from the baseline when posting up another time.  Todd also drove aggressively to the hoop on a separate play, but he ended up missing on a leaning floater in traffic, as he missed it too hard on that occasion. 

He also showcased fairly average at best playmaking skills in this game.  Todd will make the extra pass to find the open man, and he also handles the ball well.  However, he committed an offensive foul and a turnover late in this match, as he drove in and pushed off using his forearm in the process to commit a clear-out foul, which led his score to waved off.  He also sometimes has trouble protecting the ball when pressured, as there were a couple of times where he had balls poked away from him.

Todd did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to aggressively get defensive boards, and he would chase some of them down to help his team on the glass.  However, there was one occasion where he didn’t box out his man, which led him to allow an opponent to get an offensive board in his area.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, Todd was able to contest a three to force a miss.  He also would sometimes be active to help his team get stops.  He was able to stay in front of an opposing ball handler as he pestered him with his length to help force a shot clock violation.  Another time, he hustled back and helped alter a shot off of a drive in transition to force a miss.  However, he had a tendency to loaf on the defensive end.  Sometimes he wouldn’t run back hard on defense, or make an active effort to contest shots, which would lead is team to allow scores around the basket.  On another play, he was called for fouling his man off the ball when defending in the post, as he was called for hand-checking.

Overall, Isaiah Todd had his ups and downs, but he shot the ball fairly well in his team’s win over the Memphis Hustle.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter in games, and he will need to be a more focused rebounder and defender when he is on the floor.  Still, he is a very athletic big man that shoots the ball well, and he can knock down some really tough shots, which can be a strength and weakness at the same time, as he is a talented shooter that can make shots from anywhere on the court, but it also means that he may be prone to taking too many tough shots that could hurt his shooting percentages.  Todd is an intriguing prospect whose versatile scoring skills and shooting prowess could help an NBA team at the next level, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

Other Notes:

The G-League Ignite had 7 players score in double figures in their close win over the Memphis Hustle. Jarrett Jack scored 22 points off the bench. Brandon Ashley added 11 points, and Bobby Brown scored 10 points in this game.

For the Memphis Hustle, they had 5 players score in double figures in their loss to the G-League Ignite. Former USC big man, Bennie Boatwright scored 21 points and made 5 three-pointers, and he also had 8 rebounds for the Memphis Hustle. Dallas Mavericks’ assignee and rookie point guard, Tyrell Terry scored 19 points and he also had 3 assists. Jontay Porter scored 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting, and he also made 2 three-pointers off the bench. Also, Shaq Buchanan and Ahmad Caver also scored in double figures in this game.

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