Sixers Point Guard Predicament: Isaiah Canaan

Yesterday we took a look at Ish Smith to see if he was ready to step up to the current vacancy in the Sixers Starting PG role. Today we look at the #CanaanBall himself, Isaiah Canaan. Would he fit the position better than Smith?

The Sixers brought in Canaan as part of the deal that saw K.J. McDaniels move to Houston. It looked as though Canaan could be the rock that the Sixers needed in the last part of the season, until Ish Smith replaced him, leaving Canaan with just 12 starts in his most recent tenure. His career stats are encouraging when you take into account the poor shooting of Smith.

.377 Field Goal Percentage

.364 Three Point Percentage

.846 Free Throw Percentage

54 Rebounds

He also tends to shoot confidently from the perimeter. Last season, .077 of his shot attempts were from 16 feet plus, whilst .656 were three point attempts. If the Sixers were looking to add to their presence outside the paint then Canaan may be the man to do just that.

The problem with Canaan is that he has only played three NBA seasons..that would normally be a suitable amount of time to judge a player, but in those three years he has only played 69 games, averaging 17.2 minutes in each, leaving him as a bit of a wildcard. He has shown glimpses of brilliance whilst showing inconsistency in other times. One of the main factors here is that he Shares a similar frame to Ish Smith at 6-foot, 200 pounds, Brett Brown had his own worries about his defensive ability. However, it was Canaan who had 54 rebounds in 22 games and 47 of those were on the Defensive end of things..

Canaan is evidently more of  shooting guard than a playmaker and in the race to become starter this could either be his biggest blessing or his biggest curse depending on how Hinkie approaches the situation. If you want all the players on the court to be composed and consistent shooters then it’s #CanaanBall who has the edge just ever so slightly. But Hinkie has to ask himself, would that score more points than the partnership between Noel and Smith?

Financially, Canaan would probably be the most viable option if the team wish to avoid free agency. He’s on a very inexpensive deal until the end of the year when he will be come a restricted free agent. is under contract on a cheap deal this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent a year from now. He should pick up more minutes than he did towards the end of last season but won’t earn the chance to start straight away.

The other way to look at it is this. Sam Hinkie puts a lot of faith in the draft. The options he has right now are “okay”. There’s nobody who’s a certain winner which is the problem and there’s nobody standing out from the crowd. However, with the Sixers evident strategy now in place..Canaan could be the best fit for one reason. If you stunt the growth of a player, he’s going to take a dislike to you. But with Canaan, he only has one year left on his deal. So unless he has a HUGE breakout season, chances are he will be leaving Philly within the next 1-3 seasons. The Sixers have a handful of first round picks as it is for next season, if Canaan improves..trade for one more to secure a long term option and if he doesn’t..he won’t be the Sixers problem by then. Why invest heavily in a free agent or tying down someone on a lucrative deal when you have such an intimidating presence in the draft next season? It doesn’t make sense. What does make sense is drafting an elite College Point Guard in the draft next year..so you then have a core of three first round picks heading into next year..

But is Canaan the best fit for the role to show that the team has progressed? Nobody wants a season where the Sixers struggle emphatically to win, instead signs and reassurance that the Hinkie system is working.

Overall Pro’s-

+ Most consistent Shooter available
+ Would be the cheapest option
+ Room for growth
+ Sixers still tanking, could set up well for drafting a PG next

Overall Con’s-
– Small frame could limit defensive ability
– Still an unknown in the league despite spending three seasons
– Smith took the role last season and never looked back, it’s had to re-earn it.
– Selfish in attempts, wastes good passing moves for shooting chances

Overall Grade: C-

Probably not the best option to go for, but in terms of building for the future he may well exceed expectations of playing time this year. For me, he’s not quite as versatile as Smith and with Ish already having someone like Nerlens on side..who the team are going to build around, then there is a lot of work that Canaan has to do. If he isn’t traded for Draft considerations them he is going to have to convert to a much more well rounded Guard if he wants the role.

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