By Josh Cohen
July 2, 2017
The most impressive aspects of Jonathan Isaac’s game so far have been on the defensive end of the floor. His foot speed, ability to recover, length and activity have been outstanding. It’s hard for opponents to break him down off the dribble or shoot over him when he contests.
Isaac is able to deflect a lot of passes with his long arms, instincts and anticipation. He’s versatile and can guard nearly every position. In the first two games of summer league, Isaac has been superb preventing pick-and-roll and transition scoring opportunities.
Here are a few plays that accentuate Isaac’s defensive prowess and proficiencies.
On this possession, Isaac foresees the pass from Okaro White and the ball ricochets off Isaac’s body leading to a Miami turnover. WATCH:
On this play, Isaac is switched onto London Perrantes (high screen action). Perrantes tries to elude Isaac but Isaac’s speed, length and keenness results in a blocked shot. WATCH:
Here, Isaac’s alertness and timing prevents White from getting a clean look on his pull-up mid-range jumper. Isaac challenges the shot and his wingspan alters White’s aim. WATCH:
Isaac is very unpolished. However, he’s a multidimensional scorer. He’s not a “lights out” long distance shooter yet but he’s more than respectable from deep. Isaac has a nice jap step and can fade back and bury jumpers.
Most of Isaac’s scoring during summer league, though, has come when the play isn’t even called for him. He has a nose for the ball and uses his athleticism and agility to tip in missed shots.
Isaac plays well within a team structure. He’s keen on setting screens and he makes quick cuts and slips toward the basket.
Isaac has been relentless on the glass at summer league. While he struggles boxing out in many cases because of his lack of strength and resistance, Isaac has been able to outjump opponents for 50-50 balls.
Here are a few plays that highlight his offensive and rebounding abilities.
On this play, Isaac pops back beyond the 3-point line after setting the ball screen for Kalin Lucas. Quickly noticing he doesn’t have an open look after the catch, Isaac takes one dribble to his left, stops and pops. WATCH:
Here, Isaac stays with the play after a defender initially strips the ball away from him. WATCH:
On this play, Isaac displays terrific footwork and a high release. Even with a defender there to contest, Isaac uses his length to shoot right over him (Dirk Nowitzki-like). WATCH: