When the Sixers acquired Isaiah Canaan for K.J. McDaniels on Thursday, Canaan was pretty much a mystery man. He played rather sparingly during his time in Houston, and not too many had the pleasure of watching him at Murray State (GO RACERS!).
Canaan did not play Friday night, so we still haven't seen what he can bring to the team. However, we talked briefly to Ethan Rothstein of SBNation's The Dream Shake to help us paint a picture of Isaiah's game.
Q: What did you think of the Canaan/McDaniels trade, and what do you think of Canaan as a player?
A: I love the trade for the Rockets. I've paid some attention to McDaniels this year and he's a special athlete with potential. I think Canaans a solid player and a great, fearless shooter. He's very undersized but an above-average athlete. He's not a great passer or dribbler at point guard.
Q: Why was his playing time so limited in Houston?
A: This is kind of a mystery to some of us. Obviously McHale wasn't crazy about his skill set and preferred to play the corpse of Jason Terry over him. He struggled with injuries after his successful starting cameo, and never really saw the floor again.
Q: Canaan essentially becomes the de facto starting point guard in Philadelphia. Does he have the potential to be a full time starter?
A: For an NBA team over the long-term? Probably not. He's not big enough or a good enough passer to hand over the keys to an offense, and is a willing but below-average defender. His upside is like a Norris Cole type, but a better shooter/worse ball-handler.
Q: What areas of his game do you think he needs to improve the most?
A: Passing. Some point guards (see Beverley, Patrick) can get away with not being great ball-handlers, but Canaan never showed the ability to make NBA level assists on a consistent basis. He's got a shooter's mentality and less-than-ideal court vision.
Q: How much of an impact do you think he'll make as a Sixer?
A: I think he can be good for them. Obviously since he'll have big minutes, he's going to make an impact. He immediately becomes the team's best shooter, so with 40 minutes or so a game he could put up some big numbers.