Jonathan Isaac has been selected by the Orlando Magicwith the sixth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Florida State freshman has incredible upside and — like several other guys in this draft — might have been in the mix at No. 1 if this class wasn’t so deep.
Here’s a look at what the Magic are getting in their first-round pick.
Jonathan Isaac Profile
Weight: 205 pounds
College: Florida State
The first thing that jumps off the page when watching Isaac on film is his length. The kid is 6’11” with a 7’1″ wingspan and plays mostly on the wing. That’s Kevin Durant-like size to go with some really nice skill. He is also a really nice athlete, who get to the rim and score off the drive, while also possessing a solid jump shot.
At Florida State, Isaac wasn’t asked to handle the ball a ton, but he’s fully capable of doing so. He also showed a solid post game as a freshman. During his only collegiate season, Isaac averaged 12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals in 26.2 minutes per game. He also shot 50.8 percent from the floor.
Isaac also a solid weakside defender whose length helps him as a shot-blocker. Unlike some guys who possess his size, he doesn’t rely solely on that defensively. He gets in a stance and engages guys in man-to-man, though his lateral movement skills could use some work. Still, the fact that he’s that big, 19 and already willing to defend is a huge plus and not typical.
I love Isaac as a player but there are some areas that need to be addressed if he’s going to have a successful career. Like Durant and Brandon Ingram before him, Isaac needs to add muscle to his 205-pound frame. When being bodied he can be soft and it can put him out of his rhythm on both ends of the floor.
Isaac also needs to develop a killer instinct on the floor. He can drift and disengage at times, though that might be related to the above issue of not being strong enough to dominate stouter players. At times he looks like a guy who could take on the world and not break a sweat, at others he shrinks into a shell. He needs to find consistency.
While Isaac has the fundamentals of a good jump shot (a solid release and good rotation on the ball) he needs to push his range further if he’s going to play on the wing consistently at the next level. He shot 34.8 percent from 3-point range in college and that must get better. His excellent free throw percentage (78.0 percent) bodes well for an improvement on his range.
Isaac is so big, long and skilled that it’s hard not to fall in love with his potential. There are hurdles he has to clear before we declare him a sure-fire superstar, but he’s working from a great starting point. If he adds strength and continues to develop he could be a perennial All-Star.