Isaiah Joe showed his true impact against Orlando Magic

Isaiah Joe #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Isaiah Joe #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed Isaiah Joe just days before the season started, and it raised some eyebrows just based on the timing of the signing but also due to the second-round picking showing some great flashes with the 76ers who were not in the position to give the project prospect a runway to develop.

That prompted the Arkansas product to land in Bricktown in October, a franchise focused on player development, and Isaiah Joe has taken this opportunity and made the most of it.

While the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Orlando Magic in a scheduled loss, the Thunder did see the value of Isaiah Joe on full display

What a week it has already been for Isaiah Joe, who racked up 17 second-quarter points in the Thunder blowout win against the Celtics on Tuesday, which included an and-one slam that lifted the roof off the Paycom Center.

The OKC Thunder then had to hop on a plane, as soon as press conferences ended, to fly to Orlando to take on the Magic on the second leg of a home/road back-to-back, and do it all over again. This is a tough schedule quirk for NBA teams, and the Thunder did not even get into Orlando until 4 am earlier this morning.

While the Thunder fell to the Magic, 126-115 as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander returns to drop 33 points, the story was Isaiah Joe making a huge impact and flashing his value.

Isaiah Joe played in 19 minutes tonight, and in the third quarter with the OKC Thunder trailing big as the Magic once led by over 20 points in this game, Joe stroked in three triples on as many attempts to pour in 11 points. Overall, Joe finished with 13, a rebound, and an assist.

That three-point third-quarter outbreak brought Oklahoma City back within single digits and boosted their momentum for the first time all night. That is what his sweet stroke from distance gives the Thunder, momentum.

The 23-year-old is a spark plug scorer who can turn a game upside down or cement a lead in any given game.

Oklahoma City has rarely had quality shooters, and arguably none the caliber of Joe who is shooting the three ball at a 47 percent clip this season according to cleaning the glass, on his way to averaging seven points, two rebounds, and an assist per game through 31 games.

In the corner and non-corner Joe is at 47 percent from distance, ranking in the 98th percentile overall from three. That is not all, Joe is shooting a career-high 82 percent at the rim which ranks in the 100th percentile for his position, granted on just 11 rim attempts but his 68 percent eFG% also ranks him in the 100th percentile according to cleaning the glass.

Isaiah Joe is just 23 and a half years old, he is on a multi-year deal that is on the minimum salary for the next two seasons following this one.

He gives valuable minutes as a floor spacer and microwave scorer and represents the best three-point shooter on the roster (arguably in team history), He should have a role long-term in Bricktown.

I am not trying to convince you that Isaiah Joe will be some star, make an all-star team, or even be a starting-level player, but he has an elite NBA trait that is very hard to come by. He brings a lot to a team, especially in rotational minutes, it will be hard to find a better 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th man than Joe, and Sam Presti has found a diamond in the rough.

However, it is not just Sam Presti, one of the main reasons I think Joe is not just in Bricktown for a cup of coffee, is the fact he has an advocate.

When the most influential minds in the Thunder organization meet and discuss the future of the franchise, roster decisions, and playing time, Isaiah Joe has someone beating the drum for him in Vince Rozman.

Rozman hired this past summer, will be a vital part of the team’s scouting department and comes over from Philadelphia where he and Joe were part of the 76ers organization for the last two seasons (For Rozman, 15-plus years in the City of brotherly love). Isaiah Joe even credits Rozman for how he landed in Oklahoma City back in October.

Next. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was nominated for player of the month for the second straight time. dark