Coming out of Arkansas, Isaiah Joe had comparisons to Jordan Poole and Gary Trent Jr. in scouting reports. Since he was drafted in 2020, he’s had pedestrian numbers, but if Joe could get to the same level as the two previously mentioned players, the Philadelphia 76ers would benefit greatly. In the minds of some people, he has quite a way to go to match the production of Trent Jr. and Poole, or does he?
Based on his most recent play (subscription needed) in the NBA Summer League games, Joe could be closer to a breakout season than his doubters think. An argument for him making a leap this year could have legs. Just what did he do in the summer league to raise his stock?
Joe could be in line for a bigger role moving forward with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Consider Isaiah Joe’s shooting statistics. In Utah, he played two games and averaged nine 3-point attempts, making 44.0 percent of them. In that small sample, he led the league in scoring at 19 points per game. In Las Vegas, he shot almost seven 3-point attempts per game and sank 60.0 percent of them. In all summer league games, he played well above twenty minutes a game. Not bad at all.
To those who are high on Joe taking a leap this season, they’ll emphasize not so much the points he racked up, but how he made them. Looking at footage of his scoring barrage, you’ll see an array of situations in which he knocked down long-range buckets.
He pulled up in transition. Bang! He shot right after an out-of-bounds play. Pow! He came off screens. Bam! He jab-stepped and raised up. Swish! I know you’re probably thinking, Please stop with the old-school Batman banner sounds, and it’s summer league, dude.
Just imagine for a minute though, Joe rides the summer league momentum into training camp and earns solid minutes off the bench. In a second unit that also features Danuel House and Georges Niang, Isaiah Joe could be the yin to their yang: as they thrive as spot-up shooters, Joe could run off screens in perpetual motion. His impact would mirror the moon, pulling defenders out to the 3-point line like the sea at high tide.
It is apparent that he’s an intuitive shooter with form that is as textbook as it is poetic. Those who are skeptical though will point out that the Sixers do not need another one-trick pony like Matisse Thybulle. Those hesitant to dish out minutes to Joe should realize that he is an underrated defender and passer. He does have other tools in his bag.
Could he get abused on the defensive end? Perhaps against bulkier opponents, running through screens, or getting posted up on the block. Yet, as a shooting specialist, his effect on the offense could pay dividends if you consider the spacing he creates and the threat he poses anywhere on the floor. Remember, he has range and a quick trigger.
I believe that Isaiah Joe needs more minutes. Whose minutes? Quite frankly, Furkan Korkmaz has had many chances to solidify his role but has hit a wall and come up short. It is time for Joe to get a chance to show what he can contribute to the Sixers. Rather than allowing him to sniff minutes, Doc Rivers should enable Joe to inhale them as if he was coming up for air after being submerged to his breath limit.
In a field of natural shooters, Joe could emerge as elite, like Where’s Waldo but wearing a Sixers hat in the crowd. The kid is a scorer, so let him score. We may never know if he pans out like Jordan Poole or Gary Trent Jr. unless he gets minutes. Come October, I would hope, like many on the Joe bandwagon, that we will all get a chance to find out.