Back on Tuesday, April 28th, five-star point guard Daishen Nix, whom 247sports list as the top point guard project in the class of 2020 announced that he’d decommit from UCLA to go to the G League. Although he followed fellow McDonald’s All-Americans Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd towards signing with the league’s pro path program, he’s the first player to make the decision after he signed an actual letter of intent.
“I first heard talks about the G League around November,” Nix stated in an interview with Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi shortly after making that decision. “”The developmental process and getting ready to make the leap from the G League to the NBA and playing with the vets and the coaching staff available was too much to pass up.”
In addition to being able to play with veterans and learn from experienced coaches, Nix will be helped from a financial perspective as he’s set to receive $300,000 in the G League deal, according to the Athletic’s Shams Charania. That total should increase between now and the start of the season with the young prospect signing endorsements or sponsorships. We’ve already seen an example of that as Jalen Green recently signed a memorabilia deal with Upper Deck.
Although Nix’s potential as a brand influencer remains uncertain, his upside as an actual basketball player is clearly evident. Standing 6’5, 205 pounds, the incoming G Leaguer worked as a combo guard during his time with Trinity International as he shared time working as an off-ball threat and as a facilitator. Without a doubt, he does his best work when he’s leading the offense as the 18-year-old might stand as one of the best passers that doesn’t have an NBA contract.
In my eyes, that isn’t an exaggerated statement as Nix has a level of creativity and vision as a passer that’s rare to see from any point guard let alone an 18-year-old player that hasn’t stepped foot on a college or pro court. Those traits are evident whether he’s moving up the court or transition or leading the offense in half-court sets.
When it comes to sheer entertainment, his work in transition stands as the king due to how he looks like a magician with the type of passes that he can sling at a moment’s notice. A tremendous example of that is evident in the clip below as he pushes the ball up the court, picks up his dribble and then throws a beautiful no-look, side-arm pass that lands in the hands of his teammate.
Transitioning over to the half-court, his magical ways with the ball persist. As a 6’5 guard, the young prospect is tall enough to stand on the perimeter and see over the court to spot open shooters or potential alley-oop threats that are cutting to the rim. Standing on the perimeter isn’t the only way that he’s able to shine as a passer in the half-court as he can capture the defense’s attention while moving towards the paint before slinging the ball out to one of his teammates
Aside from his work as a facilitator, Nix’s work as an on-ball driver is probably his best offensive skill. While he doesn’t have the incredible level of explosiveness and athleticism as future teammate Jalen Green, the young guard was still able to shine as a threat to get to the rim during his run in the Grind Session. One of the ways he’s able to do that is taking his time with using screens to create a clearer path to the basket. A sign of that knack is evident in the play below as he maneuvers around his man and then explodes through the screen before finishing in traffic.
Alongside using off-ball screens, the young guard is able to move past the perimeter defender through utilizing a slick change of speed moves and a quick first step. As you might’ve seen in the previous clip, Nix has a great ability to just stop on a dime and then immediately explode past his man. That skill is a significant part of what may become his go-to move as a ball-handler. Within this move, he dribbles to an area before stopping on a dime while holding his dribble, turning his hip while his defender has their feet planted, and then exploding to the rim. Plays like these show the level of body control that he has already perfected at a young age.
Due to not playing in any FIBA tournaments or major summer events like the EYBL, there isn’t any statistics that point to how efficient of a perimeter shooter he actually is. From the perspective of an eye test, his jumper is a bit on the quirky side as the ball stays in front of his eyes as he’s going up for the shot before he releases with his right-hand. However, he finds a way to make the whole approach look smooth and give the ball a good arc as it splashes through the net.
While Green stands as the top dog of the current prep to G League trio, Nix might be my favorite player of the bunch. A lot of that is due to the magic he can create as a facilitator that is able to throw these unbelievable passes that seem straight out of a Magic Johnson highlight reel. That great knack combined with slick handles and solid perimeter jumper are the factors that allow you to quickly understand why he’s a five-star prospect and someone that the G League pursued heavily.
Although he isn’t a finished product as a prospect, Daishen Nix is an entertaining and skilled player that will be a joy to watch when he starts his first game with the G League Select team.