Thor, Nix have fabulous first games in NBA Summer League

August 11, 2021

JT Thor

Daishen Nix

Anchorage’s JT Thor and Daishen Nix got their first taste of the NBA Summer League.

With plenty to prove, both Alaskans stuffed the stat sheet with fabulous first games in Las Vegas.

Thor – a second-round draft pick – came off the bench to play 12 minutes with the Charlotte Hornets and collected five points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist in an 80-70 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The undrafted Nix logged 14 minutes with the Philadelphia 76ers and bagged six points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in a 96-73 victory over Dallas Mavericks.

The summer league provides an excellent opportunity for second-round picks looking to show their worth and undrafted players trying to prove that passing on them was a mistake.

Thor, the 37th pick, is only 18 years old and turned pro after one season at Auburn University. The 6-foot-10 forward had the second longest wingspan of 7-3 at the NBA Draft Combine.

He averaged 9.4 points, 5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 27 games at Auburn. He was second among SEC freshman with 37 blocks.

Thor was originally acquired from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for the draft rights of Balsa Koprivica and Mason Plumlee.

He already has signed an undisclosed contract with Charlotte and looks to become the fifth player who grew up in Alaska to play in the NBA. There hasn’t been an Alaskan in the NBA since Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers played in 2018.

Nix was added to the 76ers’ summer league roster the day after the NBA Draft.

No doubt Nix was frustrated with going undrafted; mock drafts had projected him to be a second-round pick. But like his mother Mina said, “More ways than one to skin a cat.”

His second chance will come in the summer league, which is where he would have most likely ended up had he been drafted in the second round. So, in a sense, no harm, no foul.

Nix will audition for the Philadelphia 76ers, if not the entire NBA.

The 6-foot-5 point guard comes into the summer league looking trim and slim after dropping 20 pounds. He spent the time leading up the draft reportedly training at Impact Basketball and refining his jump shot after struggling in the G League.

The 19-year-old played last season in the NBA G-League and led the league in assists while working his way into the starting lineup and playing a significant role in helping the team snag the league’s eighth and final playoff berth.

Nix scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and added three rebounds, three assists and a steal in a 127-102 loss to top-seeded Raptors 905 in the first-round, single-elimination postseason format.

He averaged 8.8 points, 5.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 15 games. He scored double figures seven times with a season high of 25 points, making him just the third Alaskan to reach the 25-point mark in the G League.

He had one double-double with 13 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Two games later he handed off a season-high 13 assists – the most by an Alaskan at the pro level.