BOSTON (CBS) — Danny Ainge has already gone against the grain once this draft season, dealing away the top overall pick and the opportunity to draft perceived future star Markelle Fultz.
Is the Celtics president of basketball ops. about to do it again on Thursday night?
Now armed with the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft (and an addition first rounder sometime over the next two years) after his blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, Ainge has plenty of options for his next move. There’s a chance he could trade the pick for a star or trade down while acquiring more picks/assets, but he made it a point on Monday to say that he’s confident Boston will get the same player they would have taken first overall at No. 3.
At the moment, that pick appears to be a coin flip between Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum, according to the pundits. But Ainge could buck the trend once again and take Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac, a versatile forward with worlds of upside.
So just in case Danny does what Danny does and goes off the path most predicted once again, here’s a look at the versatile Isaac and what he’d bring to Boston:
Weight: 210 lbs
School: Florida State University
Birthday: October 3, 1997
Points Per Game: 12.0
Rebounds Per Game: 7.8
Assists Per Game: 1.2
Steals Per Game: 1.2
Blocks Per Game: 1.5
Turnovers Per Game: 1.5
Field Goal Percentage: 50.8%
Three-Point Percentage: 34.8%
Free Throw Percentage: 78%
Isaac was a 6-foot-3 guard when he first hit the floor at Barrion Collier High School in his hometown of Naples, Florida, but he finds himself looking down on most other players after growing seven inches over his high school career. He played two years at Barrion Collier before transferring to the International School in Hollywood, Florida, where he averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds per game. He led everyone in the state of Florida in scoring his senior season, but he wasn’t quite ready to head to Florida State. So instead, he put in another year of school and work on the floor at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, in 2016, where he averaged 17.6 points and 10 rebounds per contest.
Once he finally arrived at FSU, Isaac quickly became the team’s star player. He was named to the All-ACC Freshman team and earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors after helping lead the Seminoles to a 26-win season and end a four-year NCAA tournament drought. He had eight double-doubles along the way, including a 17-point, 10-rebound showing against Florida Gulf Coast in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Isaac is one of six children in his family, with an older sister, two older brothers and two younger brothers.
– Isaac’s defense appears to already be NBA-ready and he can guard multiple positions, from power forwards to shooting guards, sometimes on the same possession. That kind of defensive versatility must have Ainge and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens salivating.
– He’s not selfish and won’t force bad shots, attempting just eight per game at FSU. He displayed some solid shooting as a freshman, hitting 31 of his 89 three-point attempts and 78 percent at the free-throw line. His offense, and jump shot specifically, should improve throughout his career.
– His combination of size, skill and athleticism make him a dangerous player in transition. Those traits should make him a very good fit for any team in the NBA, and if he can put it all together on offense, Isaac could be a star in the league.
– Isaac needs to add a little meat to his bones, which is not uncommon for a 19-year-old big man. But he isn’t much of a physical presence given his thin frame, which led to some struggles inside against physical defenders. He also can get out-muscled on the glass by bigger players, relying more on his length when crashing the boards.
– He was occasionally knocked for not being assertive enough on the floor, and would disappear for long stretches for the Seminoles.