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Stephen Silas loves the progress of Daishen Nix

Daishen Nix is becoming a better player for the Rio Grande Vipers. Coach Silas is excited about it.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers v Austin Spurs Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images

Daishen Nix has lived a wholesome journey inside his quest towards the NBA. Before going undrafted and then picked up by the Philadelphia 76ers, he was teammates with Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga on the G-League Ignite. Green and Nix were stars in their selected high schools. Although Green had a slight edge over Nix, he was still ranked 20th among the best high school players in the nation, which was according to ESPN’s 2020 rankings.

Basketball ran in Nix’s family. His mother, Mina Tupuola, she played basketball at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, as Nix was born there. Tupuola wanted to move so Nix could gain more exposure as a basketball player in high school. So Las Vegas became the plan, and that helped him dominate his junior year by averaging 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Nix decided to commit to UCLA in 2019, but decommitted the following year to play in the G-League.

Nix wanted to get paid for playing basketball because the NCAA had not yet altered their rules until 2021. What really pushed the agenda for Nix was his body size at 6’4” and 226 pounds. That’s what the Houston Rockets saw in the Summer League while Nix was playing for the 76ers. They decided to bring Nix in for training camp in Galveston, Texas. As I watched Nix in certain drills, he allowed his upper body strength to bounce off defenders and finish at the rim.

I remember asking Stephan Silas about Nix’s progress in camp, and he was impressed. It was a certain glare to Silas, as he smiled while telling me about Nix’s ability to bounce off defenders and make good decisions with the basketball.

He has a good enough first step to beat defenders towards the rim. Which also includes his ball handling and shot. Nix is showing the ability to become a gifted scorer by shooting 45.5 percent from the three-point line and averaging 27.8 points per game. He recently just won G-League Player of the Week by averaging 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists per contest. Watching Nix play reminds me of Kyle Lowry. Lowry has the ability to run through defenders so he can finish at the rim. Since he is 6’1”, Lowry has to put a lot more effort in his explosion. Luckily for Nix, he doesn’t because of his height.

When Nix attacks the rim, he shows great body control, which allows him to finish. His efficiency at the rim is 69.1 percent. Nix also knows how to operate the pick-and-roll to confuse his opponent. He understands the center’s drop coverage, which causes him to fake the opposite direction or quick it out to open teammates amongst the wing or corner. Nix looks composed playing the point guard position, which allows him to see driving and passing lanes. So far, his production has been good, as he has a blistering 119.8 offensive rating. Silas is loving the play of Nix with the Rio Grande Vipers.

The Rockets have called Nix up before, but it makes complete sense now to recall him again, as the Rockets are 14-34. I’d like to see the fit beside Kevin Porter Jr. and Green and how the offense could look. Of course, Porter is the main assignment at the point guard position. But sharing the responsibility with Nix could be wise. I’ve seen the Toronto Raptors do it with Fred Vanvleet and Lowry and be successful.

I decided to sit down with Lachard Binkley of TDS who covers the Vipers, as he has seen the progression Nix.

What’s good, Lachard?! I have to ask you about Daishen Nix. What is the best part of Nix’s game?

What’s going on Zach! To me it’s his composure on the court. He doesn’t get sped up at all and always has command when he is in the game. Even with all the big names last year on the G-League Ignite team, he was the floor general for that team. His leadership has been great so far this season.

What makes Nix more of an explosive scorer in your point of view?

He has an NBA body sort of in the mold of Kyle Lowry, a big guard who has great body control and can absorb contact. He is improving as a shooter as well, which was his weakness coming into this season.

What does Nix need to improve on before he gets recalled again?

As I mentioned earlier, his outside shooting and free throw shooting. His free throw shooting has improved the last few games since the regular season started and his three-point shooting is over 45 percent since the end of the Showcase in December.

How would you like his fit next to Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.?

I think for now as a backup point guard. Once they decide what they want to do with D.J. Augustin at the trade deadline, I think he would be perfect at the backup point at about 10-15 minutes a game.

Does he show the ability to be an explosive scorer and point guard in the NBA?

Yes, because again he is 6’4” 226, which is a great size for a shooting guard let alone a point guard. That translates at any level.

Last question. Can he start in the NBA?

Yes, I think with more experience and a consistent jumper he could be a starting point guard in the NBA. For Nix, it is all about getting the opportunity because we have seen since the start of January he continues to improve. Honestly, he has improved more than any rookie outside of Alperen Sengun for the Rockets. Granted, he has played more time in the G-League than Jalen Green, Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba and Sengun, but from the start of the season to now has seen him improve a lot.