As the offseason slowly inches along, we have another training camp deal to take a glance at. As reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, former Houston Rockets guard Daishen Nix is joining the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While adding point guard depth was certainly a priority for the Timberwolves this offseason, it seems telling that Rockets fans are universally confused and in some cases angry that Nix remains in the NBA. In the simplest terms, Nix was not very good last year for a Houston team that was not very good. He played in 57 games for the Rockets, starting seven, and played the ninth-most minutes on that team. It seems that he is making the move from second-string point guard to, at-best, third-string point guard for a roster that will need him to improve handsomely in order to play any role outside of an abject emergency.
But what does Nix bring? Before he was waived by Houston, Nix spent the 2022 season essentially duplicating his rookie year stats. Nix’s main impact comes on the defensive side, where his stocky build of around 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds lets him stonewall smaller forwards and his agility allows him to keep up with smaller players. While his general offensive game is lackluster, Nix was at his best in transition, a fact he hopefully realized after his season averaging over two steals a game in only sixteen minutes per contest.
That, quite honestly, is where the good news ends. Shooting under 35% from the field to go along with 28% from deep and under 70% from the free throw line is the fastest way to fall out of the NBA for young players. You simply cannot be that offensively inefficient as a lead guard.
However, the reason I am still a fan of this move is because it is such a low-risk move. Nix will be on an Exhibit 10 deal and likely be moved to the G-League for most, if not all, of the season. Last time Nix spent extended time in the G-League, it was as a member of the Ignite time with top-2 pick Jalen Green and former Timberwolves traded draft pick Jonathan Kuminga. Immediately after that, he earned a two-way contract and eventually a standard deal from Houston. This is still a young player who still needs time and space to figure it out.
The Timberwolves Daishen Nix signing is an Exhibit 10 contract, per source — which means there is no hit against the cap (a training camp deal that could become an NBA contract if he makes the team)— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) September 17, 2023
The Wolves have very few cards left to play. This offseason is essentially over for them in terms of real acquisitions. However, with the signing of Nix as well as the signing of the versatile guard Vít Krejčí, it’s clear to see that the Timberwolves are trying to reestablish the development superpower that the Iowa Wolves once were. If Nix can follow the evolution track of much maligned, but under-appreciated Jordan McLaughlin, that would be the best-case situation.