Who should be the backup Rockets point guard in 2022-23?


Talks about point guards tend to be a bit controversial with Rockets fans. It’s inevitable. The guy we have from the position may or may not be one.

Fortunately, this article is not about that. You might think Kevin Porter Jr. is destined for multiple All-Star appearances, and you might think there’s a chance he’ll be out of the league after next season.


(Sorry. I couldn’t help myself).

In any event, Porter Jr. is an enigma. He’s just not the one I’m looking to unpack here. Playmaker or not, he will need a replacement next season.

Head coach Stephen Silas has two viable options in Daishen Nix and TyTy Washington. Who should be the main replacement next season?

The case of Daishen Nix

Here’s something no one will likely dispute: Daishen Nix is ​​a point guard.

In fact, it’s something of a throwback. Nix is ​​the rare modern NBA player with a setter mentality, and of course he sees the ground as a wise man sees the forest for its trees.

At least, that was my impression of Nix ahead of this year’s Summer League. Sometimes Nix made Porter Jr. look like Andre Miller in Nevada.

Overall, Nix finished fourth in the team’s field goal attempts for the tournament. More impressively, he shot 45% on 4 three-point attempts per contest. Yes, Summer League is a bad sample, in terms of size and quality.

Still, these gains were encouraging. After all, Nix shot 26.9% from long range in the 24 games he played for the Rockets last season. His three-point shot in the G-League was equally inconsistent.

That said, Nix’s case rests on meritocracy. It seems to be a policy dear to the Rockets. We watched Jalen Green camp in the corner waiting for the ball until he earned it. We’ve seen Alperen Sengun struggle to gain minutes over Christian Wood despite flashing star potential in his rookie campaign.

Simply put, Nix topped Washington in the Summer League. In fact, Washington shot an awful 37.5% from the field compared to Nix’s 45.3%.

Is there a world where the Rockets give Washington the nod of relief on day one?

The case of TyTy Washington

Truly, Washington’s case is a case against Nix. After all, we haven’t seen Washington at the NBA level.

Based on his college output, he has the potential to look like an absolute steal at 29th. Washington is a sneaky guard with more wingspan. He probes the pick-and-rolls like a veteran.

Washington is able to make that read because the defense knows he’s a three-tiered scorer. The roll man mission tries to trap Washington instead of tagging him because he knows Washington is a candidate to cook his man.

Which, he is. He also happens to be capable of making an accurate lob pass. Washington has the makings of a strong pick-and-roll guard in the NBA, as he has the skill set to keep defenses at a standstill. Simply put, he can shoot, dribble or pass.

He’s not a flawless player. Washington lacks gusts, so he struggles to descend. He’s great at pick-and-roll action, but he may never be the isolation scorer that today’s top playmakers often are.

Of course, you could level the same criticism at Nix – and harsher, too. Nix generally lacks athletic gifts. Coupled with the fact that he’s not a credible spacer, that means he struggles to create in the half-court in general.

In other words, Washington’s pick-and-roll acumen should provide more advantage in half-court scenarios than Nix is ​​capable of creating. Is that enough to beckon him?

The verdict

Silas should prioritize Daishen Nix over TyTy Washington in the rotation to start the year, and that has nothing to do with comparing them as players.

Nix deserved the opportunity. It seems to matter to this Houston Rockets regime. Personally, I like the implications that politics has for the development of culture. With most rebuilding teams baptizing their young players by fire, I like that the Rockets seem to zigzag instead of zag.

That said, Washington is likely to be a higher potential player than Nix. I think the Rockets should earn him his spot, but I also don’t think they should put an undue burden on him to do so.

In other words, don’t be surprised if Nix starts the season as Porter Jr.’s backup — but don’t be surprised either if Washington has taken his place at the end of the season.