NBA

Season Recap for G-League Ignite’s NBA Draft Prospects

Jalen Green #4 high-fives Jonathan Kuminga #0 of Team Ignite during the game on February 18, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE

Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and the rest of G-League Ignite barely squeezed into the playoffs, locking up the eighth seed in the waning days of the season. However, their season was abruptly ended just days later, with a loss to the 905 Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. While it was not the ending Ignite hoped for, the young draft prospects managed to give scouts a good idea of what to expect from each player at the next level. Here is the season recap for the four NBA Draft prospects from G-League Ignite.

Jalen Green

Jalen Green #4 of Team Ignite drives to the basket against the Raptors 905 during the NBA G League Playoffs on March 8, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE

Measurables: 6’6, 178 pounds, 19 years old

Season Averages: 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals

Shooting Splits: 46.1% FG, 36.5% 3PFG, 82.9% FT

Greens’ play fluctuated over the course of the season, but the overall performance was encouraging. His unmatched athleticism and physical tools shone through and solidified his top-5 projection.

To begin the season, one of the concerns with Green was his perimeter shooting. Through the first six games of the season, Green was 7-29 from beyond the arc. While he had three games of 20 or more points in Ignites’ first six games, he struggled to shoot the ball from the field.

After the first six games, Greens’ play began to pick up. His shooting on the outside was steadily improving, and he was much more efficient from the field. In his best game of the season, a one-point win versus the Canton Charge, Green shot 6-8 from three and 9-14 from the field on his way to a season-high 26 points. His ability to finish on all three levels continued to improve over the course of the bubble, an encouraging sign for scouts.

Strong Defense Helps Green’s Case

Greens’ defense also helped his draft stock. He used his length and speed to keep up with smaller guards and showed good awareness while playing defense on the weak side. He used his athleticism to produce some highlight reel-worthy blocks and played physical when switched onto big men. Green still has a lot of room for improvement, but the tools and basic instincts were there.

Green is still very young, and his experience was evident with his shot selection and decision-making with the ball (1.05 assist to turnover ratio). However, teams will bank on his extraordinarily high upside, keeping him firmly in the top-10 for the upcoming draft.

Jonathan Kuminga

Jonathan Kuminga #0 of Team Ignite plays defense against the Salt Lake City Stars on February 26, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE

Measurables: 6’6, 210 pounds, 18 years old

Season Averages: 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals

Shooting Splits: 38.7% FG, 24.6% 3PFG, 62.5% FT

Unlike his teammate, Kuminga was pretty consistent for the entire season, for better or for worse. While he missed the final three games of the season with a knee injury, Kuminga gave scouts plenty of film to go through leading up to the draft.

Kuminga’s primary contribution to Ignite was his finishing at the rim and solid defense on opposing wings. Kuminga shot 61.2% from inside the restricted area during the season. He demonstrated his ability to finish through contact with tough buckets over opposing centers. Kuminga utilized his athleticism to get ahead of the defense for easy buckets in transition. He also demonstrated good decision-making and maturity, making smart and patient plays with the ball in his hands and finding teammates for open looks.

Kuminga PNR Offense

Kumingas’ defensive ability was also encouraging. While he didn’t finish the season with many steals or blocks, Kuminga utilized his 6’11 wingspan to great effect. He moves well enough laterally to guard wings and guards and has the frame to occasionally picked up bigs in the paint, serving as a small-ball five.

Kuminga’s Struggles

The one issue to keep an eye on with Kuminga was his jump shot. Kuminga shot 28-108 on jump shots this season. He was also ice cold from three, shooting 16-65 from beyond the arc. The mechanics and fundamentals of the shot are there, meaning scouts shouldn’t be too concerned. However, at one point or another, Kuminga will need to see these shots start to fall to justify his draft projection.

Like Green, the upside is evident with Kuminga. With the potential to be a two-way, versatile wing at the next level, Kuminga has firmly cemented himself in the top-10 of the upcoming draft.

Isaiah Todd

 Isaiah Todd #7 of Team Ignite shoots three point basket against the Austin Spurs on March 6, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE

Measurables: 6’10, 210 lbs, 19 years old

Season Averages: 12.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 blocks

Shooting Splits: 43.5% FG, 36.2% 3PFG, 82.4% FT

The lesser-known of the four prospects, Todd benefitted from Kumingas’ late-season injury. His performances toward the end of the season may have pushed him into first-round consideration.

Todds’ performance during Ignites’ playoff loss was his best case for being worth a first-round selection. Todd posted a season-high 25 points to go with 11 rebounds. He shot an efficient 10-19 from the field and 4-6 from beyond the arc. His line was even more impressive considering that Todd did this while attempting a fair amount of jump shots. Unlike more traditional bigs in the G-League, Todd demonstrated a lot of versatility by stepping out to the perimeter to hit shots.

His athleticism means he can defend inside or on the perimeter decently well. Todd will never be the most proficient scorer or a superstar on a team. However, his stretch big potential, and defensive upside should put him in the conversation for a late first-round selection.

Daishen Nix

Daishen Nix #1 of Team Ignite passes the ball against the Canton Charge on February 27, 2021 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE

Measurables: 6’5, 224 lbs, 19 years old

Season Averages: 8.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.9 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 38.4% FG, 17.6% 3PFG, 71.4% FT

The last of Ignites’ draft prospects, Nix flashed but never stood out during his time in the bubble.

Offensively, the big-bodied guard had success as a playmaker out of the pick and roll. Nix accounted for 27.7% of Ignites’ assists on the season, consistently finding rolling big men or shooters on the outside. He also finished well through contact, using his big frame to move opposing big men in the paint.

That was the extent of Nix’s positive play in the bubble. It appears unlikely that he will ever be a shooting threat at the next level. Nix shot an abysmal 14-60 on jump shots this season, including 6-34 from beyond the arc. In a league that values the perimeter shot more and more by the day, Nix’s limited shooting hinders him as a prospect.

Nix will likely find himself a career as a backup guard with solid playmaking ability. While he is not worth a first-round pick, a team will likely be willing to take their chances on Nix at some point in the second round.

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