Film Room: Jonathan Isaac's Impressive Start to Summer League

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - By the time he reaches his prime – it’s ambiguous when that might be considering he’s still very raw and his body isn’t fully matured yet – Jonathan Isaac could be an annual Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The 6-foot-11 versatile forward has the tools – and determination – to handle the rigors that come with being a team’s top lockdown defender.

The long-term goal for Isaac, though, isn’t one-sided. The hope – even if it takes another year or two before he’s ready to be this multifaceted – is that the 20-year-old will be one of the league’s premier two-way players.

It’s just one game – a summer league game to be precise – but there are already signs that the Bronx, N.Y. native has a budding offensive foundation to supplement his promising future on defense.

It was apparent from the outset of the Magic’s win over the Nets on Friday that Isaac is more confident, poised and comfortable scoring the ball.

It all starts with length, and the ability to shoot over pretty much any defender. Not to start making irrational comparisons or give unreasonable expectations, but some of Isaac’s movements were Kevin Durant-ish. With a similar body type, it’s not preposterous to think that Isaac, though far less polished than KD was when he first started out, can mimic some of those same features.

Isaac’s footwork, particularly when he isolated a defender and eyeballed the floor looking for his sweet spots, was solid. Most of his made shots were from the mid-range, where he either posted up and buried a turnaround jumper or faced up and dribbled into a pull-up.

Another very impressive, and important, part of the second-year pro’s scoring arsenal from Friday was his balance and body control. It looked like his feet were always shoulder-width apart, and he seemed to have a good grip of the ball before releasing.

Here’s a look at a few scoring plays from Isaac, who tallied 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field.