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Report: Sixers interested in drafting Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe

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Tennessee v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA Draft is less than a week away and rumors of what teams may be planning will only intensify over the next few days. As for the Philadelphia 76ers, the latest report about their interest indicates who they may look to select with one of their four second-round picks.

According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers have had a lot of interest in Isaiah Joe, a 6’5”, 21-year-old guard from Arkansas:

According to sources, he was high on the Sixers’ radar before Daryl Morey was hired as the president of basketball operations two weeks ago.

One source said the expectation was that the Sixers intended to select the sharpshooter in the draft. While picking him at 21 might be considered a reach, the belief is it would happen early in the second round.

Pompey also included a quote from Bart Reid, one of Joe’s trainers, who said in June that the Sixers were “showing a lot of interest.”

Maybe Daryl Morey will have something else in mind for the 34th and 36th picks (whether that’s a trade or other prospects he prefers), but Joe would be a good value pick in the early second round with a skillset that certainly suits what the Sixers need most.

Joe received SEC All-Freshman honors in 2018-19 after tallying 13.9 points per game and shooting an outstanding 41.4 percent from three on 8 attempts per game. His shooting cooled off last season as he jumped up to a whopping 10.6 three-point attempts per game, but his 34.2 percentage isn’t much of a concern when considering he shot at such high volume with plenty of attempts off the bounce. It’s fair to expect his three-point percentage to climb again if he lowers his attempts and cuts down his shot difficulty somewhat in the NBA.

While Joe is a limited offensive player who does most of his damage from beyond the arc (he only attempted 3.3 two-pointers per game last season), that’s where he excels both off the catch and off the dribble. He has deep range, a smooth release, a quick trigger even when defenders are nearby, and the ability to use shifty side-steps and step-backs to create space. Besides his shooting, Joe also has some notable defensive qualities. He moves his feet pretty well, has good length with a 6’10” wingspan, and fairly sharp instincts to break up passing lanes and make some disruptive rotations.

There are several weaknesses Joe would need to work on in the NBA. For instance, he was too trigger happy with tough, contested pull-ups at times; he needs to polish his shooting off screens; he wasn’t too secure with the ball with a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season; and he has a very slim frame, which can create problems for him guarding stronger match-ups, getting bullied when switching up, or handling contact on drives to the rim.

Nevertheless, Joe’s impressive shooting in particular makes him an attractive second-round target for the Sixers.

In other news, the Sixers have also reportedly expressed interest in trading for Patty Mills, which would likely send Josh Richardson to the Spurs. Perhaps this could be through a draft night trade that lands the Sixers an extra pick or helps them move up, as the Spurs have the 11th overall pick.

Whether Morey gets aggressive with trades or takes a more reserved approach and drafts with the Sixers’ highest picks (the 21st, 34th and 36th overall picks could all land intriguing prospects), there’s plenty to keep in mind.