There has been so much buzz surrounding Tyrese Maxey and cult-like campaigning for Paul Reed to get regular minutes that Isaiah Joe has flown under the radar when projecting future roles.
When he was selected with the 49th overall pick in last year’s draft, Isaiah Joe was known for his long-range ability and willing trigger. After a season and development split between the Sixers and the Delaware Blue Coats, it may be time to give Isaiah Joe a larger role with the Sixers.
During his two years at Arkansas, Isaiah Joe averaged 9.1 three-point attempts and connected at a 37.8% rate. It was this unconscious trigger that opened the door to the NBA for the 6-5 guard. Even in limited minutes, Joe continued this trend into the pros and averaged 2.6 three-point attempts in 9.3 minutes per game. On a per 36 minute scale, Isaiah Joe averaged 10 three-point attempts per game last year, which was the highest mark on the Sixers.
In addition to the 41 games that Isaiah Joe played with the Sixers, he also spent some time in the G-League with the Delaware Blue Coats. During the three postseason games that Joe participated in, he averaged 23.3 points and tossed up a ridiculous 12.7 three-point attempts per game. The sharpshooter connected on 39.5% of his three-pointers and also added 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Growth in Year Two
There is obviously much more to see from Isaiah Joe, as the sample size of professional minutes is still fairly small. Even so, Joe has taken some impressive strides in his development- especially with his defense and ball-handling. These additional elements that have been added to his game give him more of a chance to get on the court, and the passing and ball-handling growth may allow him to take on more of an on-ball role.
While the additional layers to his game are certainly positive signs of growth, it is his shooting ability that has opened up the door for Isaiah Joe. The expansion of range to a couple of feet beyond the three-point arc has become more commonplace in the NBA the last few years, and the Sixers have yet to take advantage of this.
Forcing the defense to guard several feet beyond the three-point arc provides a level of spacing that has not been seen in the Sixers offense during the Embiid era. Joe’s willingness to pull the trigger from this area provides the Sixers with a new dimension that puts an entirely new type of strain on opposing defenses.
Am I willing to claim that Isaiah Joe is the missing piece in the Sixers rotation? Absolutely not. In fact, it is entirely possible that if he is given a larger role, Isaiah Joe will prove he’s not ready or simply not good enough.
However, given the current state of the team and the growth that the Arkansas sharpshooter has shown, the Sixers absolutely must give Joe a larger role in order to evaluate how high his potential ceiling is. He has flashed enough potential that the Sixers absolutely must give him a chance in the rotation and to truly evaluate what Isaiah Joe is capable of.