By Josh Cohen
Oct. 3, 2017
ORLANDO — Jonathan Isaac was impressive in a lot of different ways in his NBA preseason debut.
First off, he played really well off the ball. His slips, cuts, dives and slashes were on point. Isaac has extremely good anticipation and instincts, which help him elude defenders. He also has exceptionally good hands and coordination.
With his long strides, court alertness and activity inside, Isaac was the beneficiary of several interior passes. He had four dunks against the Grizzlies, including an alley-oop throwdown tossed to him by rookie teammate Wes Iwundu.
While he’s clearly unpolished and unrefined as a shot creator, Isaac is very comfortable taking one dribble to his left, squaring up and launching mid-range jumpers. His length is what makes him so dangerous in these situations. Like Kevin Durant, for example, Isaac can shoot over the top of nearly any defender.
Not necessarily a knockdown outside shooter, Isaac has range and can spot up and spread the floor. He drilled one of his four 3-point attempts in Memphis with the one make coming off a baseline drive and kick from Kalin Lucas.
To not much surprise, perhaps the most striking facet of Isaac’s performance was his defensive keenness and vigilance. It’s detectable already that he is a master of raiding passing lanes with his length and attentiveness. He had a couple of deflections and showed off his ability to defend multiple positions.
Isaac was guarded by players of different positions against the Griz, which is a sign that he is very adaptable and versatile. It’s going to be a challenge for opponents to game-plan for him. Acknowledged all summer, he needs to gain strength if he wants to be a major presence down low.
Here’s a look at a few plays from Monday’s preseason game that highlight Isaac’s top moments:
ISAAC RECOGNIZES CHANDLER PARSONS’ DEFENSIVE MIXUP
DEFENSIVE ZEST LEADS TO FAST BREAK JAM
ISAAC SMOOTH ONE-DRIBBLE PULL-UP
IWUNDU TO ISAAC ALLEY-OOP