Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Joe looks like he can go

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

In 2020-21, Isaiah Joe was a bit of a one-dimensional player.

Sure, he could shoot and loved to do so as much as Alf loved to eat cats, but Joe was a very effective cutter, seldom looked to dish out dimes, and try as he might, was a non-factor on defense.

Remember, measuring in at 6-foot-4, 164 pounds, Joe was one of the lightest weights in the NBA last season. He’d get bullied by even average NBA drivers, lacked ideal explosion, and just wasn’t built for the rigors of being a 20-plus minute contributor over an 82 – or 71 – game season.

But now? In the summer of 2021? Now Isaiah Joe looks like a man among boys at the Las Vegas Summer League and could finally be ready to go for the Philadelphia 76ers this fall.

Isaiah Joe might just surprise some Philadelphia 76ers fans this fall.

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Isaiah Joe has appeared in two games for the summer Philadelphia 76ers this, um, summer.

He’s logged just under 60 minutes of action, scored 36 points, and has made 42.9 percent of his 21(!) 3 point attempts versus the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks.

Now, even in the modern-day NBA, taking 10.5 3 pointers in a game is a tad excessive. In 2020-21, only three qualifying players – Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and Buddy Hield –  attempted more than 10 a game, and those players are quite a bit more acclaimed than Joe in his second season out of Arkansas. Still, if Joe can actually keep up that clip and drain five 3 pointers a game, he’ll ascend up the NBA ranks rather quickly and become one of the more intriguing offensive options around.

If that’s all Joe brought to the table – elite, high-volume shooting – he’d be gainfully employed for a very long time.

As we saw this summer and in virtually every summer past, the NBA is never oversaturated with efficient shooters. Said players have racked up crazy paychecks off the backs of a few seasons of 40-plus 3 point shooting percentage – sometimes even less – and will continue to do so for the rest of basketball history.

Fortunately, if Joe’s performances so far this summer are of any indication, his game might just be filling out in the best way possible.

Routinely tasked with playing off of his fellow draft classmate Tyrese Maxey, Joe has taken up a bigger role in the offense than just being a spot-up shooter perched on the wings. Mind you, he does spot-up shoot a fair bit and has been darn good at doing so, but Joe has developed as a cutter, a driver, and as an off-ball mover capable of getting himself open looks regardless of who is dribbling the ball.

Heck, Joe has even found a way to get involved on the board, an idea borderline crazy last season, contributing an average of 4.5 defensive rebounds a game in his first two games of the summer.

If Joe can translate his Vegas performances over to the main roster, there’s a chance Furkan Korkmaz may be on his way to being a $15 million bench warmer by the 2021 trade deadline… assuming he isn’t traded in a package alongside Ben Simmons for a legitimate star.

Oh goodness, is Joe starting to make himself untouchable? Heaven knows I don’t want to get into that conversation again after the Maxey debate from a few days back.

Next. Poll: Fans narrowly think Tyrese Maxey is untouchable. dark

With a bench absolutely stockpiled with incredibly intriguing youngsters under the age of 25, the Philadelphia 76ers have a ton of optionality heading into the 2021-22 regular season. They have a great young point guard, a certified “mudmaster” who dominated the extra frame versus the Atlanta Hawks, and a 2021 Draft Class who could take on bigger roles down the line. But between you and me, I’d overlook Isaiah Joe at your own risk, as that kid can go and has a certain swagger you can only earn by attempting 10-plus 3s a game in the Summer League.