The Case for Florida State's Jonathan Isaac to the Sixers at No. 3 - NBC 10 Philadelphia

The Case for Florida State's Jonathan Isaac to the Sixers at No. 3

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    The Case for Florida State's Jonathan Isaac to the Sixers at No. 3
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    The case for Florida State's Jonathan Isaac to the Sixers at No. 3

    Over the weeks leading up to the 2017 NBA draft, we'll be making cases for the Sixers to draft several prospects. Our series will kick off with options at No. 3 (or trade downs) followed by second-round possibilities. The 2017 NBA draft will take place on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

    Jonathan Isaac
    Position:
    SF/PF
    School: Florida State
    Height: 6-11
    Weight: 205
    Wing span: 7-1 ¼

    A 6-foot-4 guard entering high school, Isaac underwent a huge growth spurt, nearly becoming a 7-footer (he's only 19, so he still might become one). Isaac was a top-10 recruit and lived up to his billing during his lone season at Florida State.

    His numbers won't blow you away: 12 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. But it's important to note that Isaac often differed to the teams veteran guards in sophomore Dwayne Bacon  and junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes. He was efficient, taking just eight shots a contest and shooting over 50 percent.

    What makes Isaac intriguing is his guard-like skill set coupled with his size and length. His jumper was inconsistent (35 percent from three), but the 78 percent he shot from the line is encouraging. He's a matchup nightmare on both ends. He's too tall and long for most wings and too quick for bigs. He also uses his length and athleticism on the defensive end by getting his hands in passing lanes and protecting the rim.

    *Note: If the Sixers were to draft Isaac, it would likely be in a scenario where they trade down.

    The case for Isaac
    The first thought for some Sixers fans might be, "Another big?! Really?!" with a little colorful language sprinkled in. But fans that feel that way obviously haven't watched Isaac play. 

    Isaac can realistically guard positions one through five in the NBA. He's the epitome of positionless basketball. At the pro level, he'll constantly have to switch out on guards and he should be able to handle it just fine. He also gives you weak side rim protection (2.3 blocks per 40 minutes) and is a deflection machine (1.8 steals per 40). 

    Offensively, you can tell he's still learning how to use his lanky frame. Occasionally you'll see him make a play off the dribble or pull up for a jumper and wonder how a guy his size can be that crafty. His shot is inconsistent, but it's far from broken. He was much better in catch-and-shoot opportunities which he should get a lot of with Ben Simmons facilitating and Joel Embiid in the paint.

    He's also a team player. He joined a veteran Seminoles team, earned a role, and thrived in it. Early on, he should excel as Brett Brown wants to push the basketball and play with pace and space. 

    The case against Isaac
    As much as I love the idea of positionless basketball, it does sort of cause a dilemma for Isaac and his fit for the Sixers. He should be quick enough to guard NBA wings from the start, so realistically, Isaac and ROY candidate Dario Saric could coexist in the starting lineup. You'd then feature a starting lineup with four players measuring 6-10 or taller. While that would be so much fun, it may not be feasible against guard-heavy teams.

    He's also skinny. Like, really skinny. His biggest issue in the NBA will be how he deals with taking a beating from grown men for 82 games. He also wore down and got into a shooting slump down the stretch.

    Analysis
    If the Sixers had legitimate interest in Isaac, it would make sense to trade down. I can't see him getting past the Timberwolves at No. 7, so you'd likely have to stay in front of them. 

    First, I want to admit bias. I genuinely loved watching Isaac play this year. He's one of my favorite prospects. With that said, I think starting three players 6-10 or taller isn't that crazy. Especially when you have guys like Simmons and Isaac who are basically guards trapped in a bigs' body. You could also use Isaac or Saric off the bench depending on the matchup.

    Isaac definitely needs to get stronger, but if he does, that should also help his three-point shooting as he adjusts to NBA range. There would probably be moans and groans about the Sixers' drafting another big, but this kid is definitely not your typical big.