Isaiah Joe Scouting Report

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Isaiah Joe
Photo Credit: TJ Oxley/Basketball Society

School: Arkansas

Year: Sophomore

Height/Weight: 6’5, 180

 

Strengths:

Isaiah Joe went to high school in Arkansas and chose to stay close to home. He made his name known as a freshman by being a lethal three point shooter. In the 2018-2019 season, Joe connected on 113 triples at an absurd 41.2% clip. What separates Joe from a lot of other shooters is his ability to make shots both on and off ball.

The best feature about his jumper is how quickly he can get his shot off. The old phrase “give a man an inch, and he’ll take a mile” really is a great way to describe how Joe makes opposing teams pay.

His arsenal involves a lot of step back and side step jumpers that are very quick and while he doesn’t create the separation players like James Harden or Kemba Walker do, he creates enough to get his shot off. When he does use these separation moves, he will still always get his feet set and have them slightly pointed to his off hand while shoulder width apart. His shooting mechanics are very nearly perfect from his dip all the way up to his release point.

When used off ball, Arkansas runs a lot of staggered screens either to get Joe a quick look or to get him a mismatch on the second defender. The ability for a shooter to read defenders on screens is extremely important and Joe knows when to curl off a screen or flare back for a jumper. On top of off-ball screens, they also utilize dribble hand-offs frequently. Like most shooters, Joe is someone who is always running around trying to free up space in the half-court, but he is more than willing to run the lanes in transition as well. From doing so, he looks to get lots of C&S opportunities especially in the corner.

While he mainly projects to be a shooter at the next level, Isaiah displays a high IQ in his game as a passer. He may not possess the vision and ability of Tyrese Haliburton or LaMelo Ball, but he does command so much respect from defenders that there will often be an open man in many situations when he handles the ball. He is very capable of taking advantage of these looks as he can put a pass over the top to a popping big and hit a roll with a pocket pass.

On top of all this, if the pass isn’t available, Joe can attack the basket a little bit and has soft touch on the occasional runner he goes to.

The defensive side of the ball is very intriguing to evaluate him as a prospect. One of the more surprising things I noticed about his game is his ability to recover. Joe is a sneaky athlete and while he doesn’t wow anyone with quick bursts of speed in transition or explosive leaping ability, he has enough quickness to catch up with attacking players and enough bounce to get up and block the occasional shot. He also is aware of the game around him and will look to come play help side defense aggressively trying to poke the ball loose from time to time.

Weaknesses:

His weight is an issue. Isaiah Joe weighs 180 lbs and is 6’5″. This is a weakness for him right now as his weight allows him to get knocked around when he tries to attack and battle for rebounds. However, there are signs that this may not be a weakness for much longer. As a freshman he weighed somewhere from 165-170 lbs and has gained 10-15 lbs since.

The next issue I see is his athleticism. Earlier I said he is a sneaky athlete but he’s not overly quick. On the defensive side of the ball, he doesn’t move his hips well and often gets beat from the point of attack and is forced to recover which I think he does fairly well. This is an issue to monitor though because if he is struggling to keep college guards in front of him than how will he fare against NBA competition?

The last big issue I find for Isaiah Joe is his ability to attack and be a playmaker with the ball in his hands. There are real struggles for him to get all the way to the rim and to finish while taking contact. If he can’t find a way to attack then defenses are gonna scheme him differently and he solely becomes a shooter. I want to see him maximize his potential and he needs to have that threat to take defenders into the lane as it will force the help more often and allow for more open opportunities for his teammates. 

Future Outlook:

Isaiah Joe is a lethal shooter from beyond the arc and that skill will translate well to the NBA. If anything, he will be a guy who can come in, stretch the floor and knock down plenty of C&S opportunities. The key for him to get out and maximize his potential will start with getting him in an NBA weight training program to put on weight and work on his hip movement and his feet.

Right now, he looks to be a guy who has a good floor as a role player off the bench who can knock down shots, but if he can prove that he can attack the rim and keep making smart passes, he could be a guy who could potentially start for an NBA team. Joe will be interesting to see leading up to the draft as teams may get desperate for shooters so it may make players like him, Jordan Nwora, and Myles Powell more attractive. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard his name called somewhere in the 20’s, but don’t be surprised if he falls to the 2nd round.

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