With all the young players on the Orlando Magic, Jonathan Isaac is one of the most talented. He showed the basketball world glimpses of greatness this past season, giving Magic fans hope that their team didn’t strike out on yet another lottery pick.
The Magic didn’t have a good season by any means. They showed minimal improvement from last year’s young, promising team. But there were a few good takeaways from this season, the major one being the rise of Jonathan Isaac.
In only the third game of the season against the Toronto Raptors, Isaac posted a stat line of 24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Not only did he contribute on both sides of the court, but he shot the ball with absurd efficiency. Isaac shot 70% from the field and 74% from beyond the arc. Isaac wasn’t able to play at this level consistently. However, it showed the basketball world glimpses of his potential.
In November, Isaac was stellar on defense, averaging 2.7 blocks per game and 1.5 steals. Game after game, he would assert his dominance with his tremendous abilities on defense. On November 6th against the Dallas Mavericks, Isaac even posted 6 blocks along with 4 steals.
Isaac was a match up nightmare for any offensive player. He is agile enough to switch on the perimeter yet has the frame necessary for an interior presence. There aren’t many players that can do that on defense.
Jonathan Isaac has everything an NBA GM would desire in a young star. Coming into the 2017 draft, media outlets such as CBS Sports were comparing him to Kevin Durant. Just based on physical attributes, the comparison was right on. Isaac is a 6’11 athletic forward that can run the floor, defend, and get his spots on offense. He screams a young Kevin Durant.
Isaac is nowhere near the scorer KD was when he was drafted, and will never be on his level. Still, Isaac has grown his offensive game tremendously and has lots more room for growth. His efficiency from the field has improved every year he’s been in the league. Isaac shot 38% from the field his rookie year, but this season his number was up to 46%. With the NBA now being such a star-driven league, it is essential to get players who fit that “unicorn” mold. This select group includes players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kristaps Porzingis, and Anthony Davis. Although it may seem far-fetched, Isaac has the potential to enter this category.
Isaac has the physical gifts to be an outstanding player in this league. The Magic just need to trust in him and design their gameplan around him. He’s shown improvement every year; all he needs is more opportunity. This will accelerate his growth as a player and allow him to flourish.
Keep an eye out for Jonathan Isaac. He just might be the next up and coming NBA superstar.