To paraphrase a very good tweet from a very underrated Twitter user, “How many letters are in Isiah Joe’s last name? 3.”
Most fans of the NBA don’t know second-year Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Isaiah Joe.
Starting alongside Joe versus Brooklyn – who played a weird, hybrid point guard role alongside Furkan Korkmaz in Doc Rivers’ makeshift, point guard-less starting lineup – Embiid got a firsthand look at a future where the pride of Arkansas is not only a rotational player for the Sixers but a legitimate contributor playing hardcore playoff minutes. Granted, Joe always put effort in at that end of the court, but he was frequently bullied up on by bigger drivers, which was pretty much every driver during his rookie season, considering he weighted less than everyone from Ish Smith to Carsen Edwards, and even Isaiah Thomas, who is one of the shortest players in the league. Will Joe ever become an All-NBA-level defender? Probably not, as he’d then have Matisse Thybulle out of a job too, but again, Redick and Curry were never more than average defenders, to put it generously, and they earned small fortunately playing basketball even without being max contract players, Joe could carve out a similar NBA niche.