The 2017 NBA Draft has finally happened. Young rising players have now got a home to go to, in terms of where their career will take off. For the Magic, Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac is that young rising player. After five seasons of turmoil after the Dwight Howard trade, Orlando has been looking for their new franchise face. Considering this draft had loads of potential and talent, this was the one night the Magic desperately needed to make smart moves. So, was picking Isaac as the sixth pick smart?
First off, let's dig into what type of player he is. Isaac stands at 6 ft 11, with a 7 ft 1 wingspan and a 9 ft 2 reach. That's a center's body in a small forward. So the tools are definitely there. Game wise, he's all about versatility. Isaac is athletic, quick, and has a lot of defensive skills. He's a very solid rebounder, as he averaged 7.8 boards back in his freshman year. Rim protection and ball handling are also things Isaac can do well. Although he's nowhere near a floor general, he can run the ball up the court and is extremely unselfish. Now about his offense, it's something that's a work in progress, but it's also something he's very good at.
He averaged 12 points in Florida State, which doesn't sound like much, but you have to take into consideration he was not a focal point in that team's offense at all. So given the chance, like in Orlando, he can possibly improve by a lot. Isaac can shoot occasional three's and is a capable jump shooter. He doesn't force shots, so he's somewhat efficient. So while he's not a pure scorer right now, that can always change.
This draft undoubtedly had a lot of great prospects, but Isaac just may have to most upside out of all of them. Which is why the Magic drafted him. Orlando needs a star in their grasp. So since free agency will probably be unkind to them, they need to grow a star from scratch. Fortunately, Isaac has that type of potential.
The Magic also need a little bit of everything. Last season, the Magic were at the bottom four of offense around the league, and the bottom ten of defense in the league. They weren't all that great in rebounding as a team either. So a player like Isaac who gives a little bit of everything, jack of all trades if you will, is exactly what Orlando needs. As a cherry on top, he seems like a good, humble kid.
However, Isaac does have a few concerns. He's only 205 pounds, which isn't a big deal. Still, it would be beneficial if he added more weight and muscle for his heavier opponents. Another concern is his high risk, high reward offer. He has Kawhi Leonard/Kevin Durant type potential, but also has Tyrus Thomas/Moe Harkless possibilities. If things go right, the Magic may have a regular All-Star on their hands. If things go South, however, this draft will have been a waste, and things could get darker in Orlando than they already are.
His fit could also be a red flag as well. Can he play well with Aaron Gordon, or will both of them pause the offense? Time will tell, and only head coach Frank Vogel will know what starting lineup works best. Still, it's something to look at.
Overall, this is who Orlando has now, whether fans like or not. Hope is the key word for this whole thing, and also a little more patience too. It's apparent the Magic still have playoff goals in mind, and they want to win now. There are still going to be bumps in the road for them, but hopefully, Jonathan Isaac will lead the way.