Sixers Second-Round Sharpshooter Sounds Off on ‘Paralysis Out There’

Isaiah Joe

Getty Sixers guard Isaiah Joe plans to hit the weight room this summer and improve on the defensive end.

It seemed like Year 2 was going to be Isaiah Joe’s chance to carve out his niche. The three-point specialist was coming into a dream situation, playing for a team desperate for perimeter shooting and undermanned at the guard position.

Joe was destined for an uptick in minutes. The Sixers’ second-round pick from the 2020 NBA draft did see more minutes. Barely. Joe upped his minutes per game to 11.1 during the 2021-22 season from 9.3 in the 2020-21 campaign.

Joe probably should have seen the floor more, except for one problem: the coaching staff didn’t trust him enough on the defensive end. That’s something he has targeted to fix this offseason. The first step to achieving that begins in the weight room where he’ll look to add muscle to his 6-foot-4, 165-pound frame.

“I mean, focusing on my body, getting my body right and developed,” Joe said when asked about his offseason plans. “This year, whenever I had the opportunity to be out there, I tried to show a little more of my defensive paralysis out there. Showing that I’m not a liability on defense.

“And this upcoming summer will be very big in me developing my body, increasing my skill, whether that’s shooting, being able to put the ball on the floor and create – that’s something that I really lacked this year. You know, being able to put the ball on the floor and create for myself and others, so that would be two main focuses for me.”

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Joe’s Shooting Prowess Needs No Introduction

The Sixers knew what they were getting when they made Joe the 49th overall pick. He was a lights-out assassin from deep at the University of Arkansas where he ranks No. 7 all-time for three-pointers made (207) and No.6 for three-pointers attempted (548). He shot 37.8% from beyond the arc in two seasons there.

So, yes, Doc Rivers knows all about Joe’s shooting prowess. It’s just a matter of rounding out the rest of his game before he can commit to giving him a permanent spot in the bench rotation.

“Isaiah Joe, like I look at him and I look at that shot,” Rivers said, “and there are so many other things that he has to work on and improve to get on the floor but this summer’s important for him.”

Remember, this is a kid who used stay two hours after high school practices and get 1,500 to 2,000 shots up. Thanksgiving, Christmas, weekends, it didn’t matter. Joe was always working on his shot, according to his high school coach Eric Burnett.

“I think people see him shooting the basketball and they think that, ‘Well, he just woke up and started shooting the basketball.’ No, that kid has worked on his craft for a long time,” Burnett told Heavy, “and that’s why he’s able to shoot the basketball like that.”

Matisse Thybulle Named All-Defense Team

Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle earned NBA All-Defense Second Team honors on Friday. He received 87 total points, including 8 first-team votes and 71 second-team votes. It marks the second straight season that Thybulle made the exclusive squad of defensive stoppers.

Thybulle appeared in 66 games (50 starts) for the Sixers during the 2021-22 campaign. He averaged a career-high 1.7 steals per game while tying a career-best mark with 1.1 blocks. The 25-year-old finished the year with 115 steals and 71 blocks, giving him 313 steals and 189 blocks in 196 career games.

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