Isaac has the ability to play both the 3 and 4 at the next level. At Florida State, he has primarily been used at the 4, but will play more on the perimeter in the NBA. This versatility is seen on both ends of the court. He can guard multiple positions, and he has great length with a 7’0″ wingspan, which is evident averaging 1.5 blocks per game. Offensively, he can be the stretch four guy that is so coveted in the NBA today. He is shooting 36.1% on the season from 3, and that percentage will only improve.
Similarly to Anthony Davis, Isaac hit a growth spurt during his high school career. Davis grew from 6’2’’ to 6’10″ between his sophomore and senior year, while Isaac grew from 6’3’’ to 6’10″ between his freshman and senior year. What is the positive for these insane growth spurts? Guard skills. Both Davis and Isaac started off as guards, and you can notice that in their game. They see the floor well, their handles are remarkable considering their height, and they can lead a fast break if needed. As seen with Davis in the NBA today, this will help Isaac significantly.
Isaac is shooting 52.7% from the field and 82.9% from the free throw line. He is averaging 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while only playing about 25 minutes. Florida State has a deep bench this year, going as far as 12 players in some games, which has limited Issac’s play. Per 40 minutes, he averages 20.5 points per game, 12.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 2.0 steals. He has shown that while on the court, not only does he impact the game in many ways, but he brings efficiency as well.
Jan 18, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Jonathan Isaac (1) reacts after a play during the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Much like with Brandon Ingram and his journey to the NBA last year, strength will be an issue with Isaac. His frame does not match up well with the physicality of the NBA. Anthony Davis was 220 pounds in college and is now 254 pounds, so it is possible to build up muscle. Adding weight will be vital for him to be able to compete in the NBA on a nightly basis.
His versatility can be seen as a strength, but also a weakness. Davis was going to be a power forward in the NBA. Ingram was going to be a small forward in the NBA. Isaac is somewhere in between. Being a tweener is not easy. One night you may have to guard a Kevin Durant or Lebron James, and then the next night you may have to guard a Nikola Jokic or a Karl-Anthony Towns. Although he has the ability to guard multiple positions, it won’t be an easy task at the NBA level with the wide variety of forwards that the league has to offer.
Isaac is an intriguing prospect because he has so much talent and has barely scratched the surface for how good he is going to be. I see Isaac being selected in the 4-7 range in the first round of the draft come June. In terms of comparisons, as mentioned earlier, I see some Davis and Ingram in him. He is already a better shooter than Davis was at this stage, but Davis was a better rebounder and was more physical. Davis has the mindset to take over a game, not sure if Isaac will develop that mentality when in the NBA. He has a very similar frame to Ingram and an extremely similar skill set. All three players have guard qualities, which gives them play-making ability. I think he will be a very good small forward, and if he gets stronger and develops more muscle, I think he will be a terrific stretch four.