HOUSTON — Daishen Nix held the ball in his hands with 9:44 remaining in the fourth quarter on April 3 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nix had Minnesota's Naz Reid in isolation and displayed an in-and-out hesitation crossover dribble to complete an And-1 layup.
Nix's bucket against Reid may have been his top play of the season while playing for the Houston Rockets. But the move he showcased inside the Toyota Center is why Houston's management views Nix as a lottery pick talent.
The small sample size the Rockets experienced against the Timberwolves was a consistent output during Nix's G League career playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Nix has a chance to validate himself as a rotational player in coach Stephen Silas' lineup next season, and his quest will begin Thursday inside the Thomas & Mack Center during the 2022 NBA Summer League.
Nix has spent the off-season participating in Houston's voluntary workouts. He has used the 24 games he played with the Rockets last season as a template to enhance his play as a backup point guard for the 2022-23 campaign.
But his most challenging task is finding the middle ground between the player who led the Vipers to their fourth G League title to contributing as a reserve with the Rockets.
"I've been working out with the Rockets throughout the off-season," Nix said during the Vipers' first-ever Basketball Champ Camp on June 20. "On the offensive end, it's about learning when to take the jump shots I need to take, attacking the basket and getting my teammates involved and open.
"On the defensive end, it's all about playing 94 feet. Those are some of the things I have to work on to keep myself in the game — especially being with the Rockets."
The Vipers utilized Nix's entire offensive repertoire within their offense. Nix notched a 24.5 usage rating as the team's primary facilitator and scorer in the 18 games he started at point guard — where he averaged 20.6 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the field, 7.6 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals.
But in Houston, the Rockets would prefer Nix to lean more into his playmaking and defensive skill set while utilizing his compressed minutes on an NBA level.
"It was tough because I had to come off the bench while I was a starter in the G League," Nix said. "Over time, I was able to adjust. I had to learn that I have to have more assists than points. Getting my team involved is the most important thing — especially not being the main scorer in Houston."
Nix said becoming more vocal on the court is the top attribute he has worked on throughout the off-season. As a point guard, Nix believes it's his job to be the loudest on the court as a floor general and leader.
He signed a two-way contract with the Rockets after going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft. Nix's performance with the Vipers led the Rockets to convert his two-way contract into a standard deal.
Nix will likely start in the backcourt next to Josh Christopher when the Rockets open their summer league schedule against the Orlando Magic on July 7. Tip-off is slated for 9 P.M. C.T.
You can follow Coty Davis on Twitter @CotyDavis_24
Want the latest in news and insider information on the Houston Rockets? Click here
Follow Inside the Rockets on Facebook here
Follow Inside the Rockets on Twitter @InsideRocketsFN