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Jonathan Isaac – 6’10”, Forward, Florida State University, 19 Years Old
Jonathan Isaac is a versatile forward out of Florida State University who is projected to be a mid-lottery pick in the upcoming draft. In his freshman season, Isaac averaged 12 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, shooting an effective 50.8% from the field. Isaac was selected to the ACC All-Freshman team for his impressive season with the Seminoles. A versatile forward, Isaac has the ability to play either the three or the four with great athleticism, allowing him to create a mismatch against opponents. Isaac is also able to consistently knock down the three ball, just one of his talents that has drawn the interest of NBA teams around th league.
A versatile 6’10” forward, Isaac can not only offer efficient scoring, but his defensive capabilities are also worth marveling over. Averaging 12 points per game and shooting 50.2 percent from the floor, Isaac is consistent, to say the least. His steady 35.3 percent shooting from three-point range allows him to create a mismatch on the floor with nearly any defender.
Possessing impressive athletic ability, the FSU forward excells at cutting to the rim, losing his defender in the process. Isaac also has a fantastic ability on the boards. Possessing a 7’1″ wingspan and a standing reach of 9’0″, Isaac has developed into an effective shot blocker and rebounder, averaging 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during his time in Tallahassee. A solid defender, Isaac has impressive court vision, awareness and athleticism, that could see him develop into an elite defender in the NBA.
The main issue for Isaac when entering the league will be his size. Weighing only 205lbs, Isaac could face similar problems to Lakers forward Brandon Ingram. If Isaac is to have any success in the NBA, he will have to get work in over the summer in order to match the physicality that Ingram has struggled with in his rookie season. This is a critcial issue for Isaac, and the lack of physical presence is concerning. Isaac often struggled in college, especialy on the interior.
Due to his lack of strength and toughness, he can be pushed out of the game on offense against stronger defenders. Crucially, Isaac lacks the core strength to attack the rim and can get knocked around in mid-air when he elevates. Isaac will therefore have to work on the ability to manipulate his body when attacking the rim, in order to get more trips to the foul line. His isolation-scoring is also an area for improvement looking forward and although consistent, Isaac could look to increase his scoring output, whilst specifically focusing on his mechanics.
Isaac has arguably the highest ceiling of any player in this draft class. His ability to create a mismatch against opposition defenders, as well as an impressive balance of good offensive and defensive play stands him in good stead entering the league. Although his physical build is currently an issue for Isaac, this is certainly something that can be easily fixed along the road. Isaac is far from the physical and aggressive forward that has become prominent in the NBA. Instead his finesse, athleticism, movement and energy will all serve as his biggest weapons. With a tremendous upside, Isaac could develop into a top prospect in the NBA. Having said that he is certainly a project player, and will most likely need one of two seasons to develop.
In terms of the NBA player most compatible with Isaac’s current skill set, Ingram definitely draws some strong comparisons. Both are considerably weak for their position and lack the physicality in order to be a top player in the NBA. Having said that, Isaac is a significantly heavier than Ingram was at the same stage last year. A more well-rounded game, explosive athletic ability, elusiveness and the ability to read the game well, leave Isaac in a better position than the Lakers forward. If Isaac is able to work on the physical aspect of his game he could develop into a player with a similar skill set to Otto Porter Jr. or even Kevin Durant.