Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac needed to put on some weight after a solid, but injury-filled rookie year. Recent photos have him on #musclewatch.
When the Orlando Magic drafted Jonathan Isaac last year, they knew they were taking on a massive project. He was a player for the Florida State Seminoles who worked on raw potential in many ways. His length and athleticism made him a defensive terror full of offensive potential.
The criticisms of him were that he was too passive at times and that he still needed to develop his 3-point shot. He perhaps deferred to more prominent senior members on the team. The Seminoles won and had a solid season, so it was no big deal.
He was this bundle of athletic and physical potential. But then came that other criticism and concern. . . he was just so skinny.
That is something a lot of rookies need. But with Isaac’s spindly thin body and long limbs, it felt like his weight would determine whether he would be a successful player or not. It was the same discussion scouts had about comparable players like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis. Neither player has put on bulky weight, but they have done well for themselves. Not that Isaac will hit their levels of stardom.
Isaac had an injury-filled rookie year. A sprained ankle held him to 27 games. And he was still effective defensively at least. Even if he got pushed around at some points.
Weight was definitely still an issue.
Exiting the season, Isaac said he understood how important it was for him to grow between his rookie and sophomore seasons. It was something several of his teammates impressed upon him before the team took off.
The Magic recently released some video of Jonathan Isaac working out in their practice facility with assistant coach Matt Hill (the only coach retained from Frank Vogel’s staff) and some other staff members.
It is hard not to notice the gains:
Yes, it is only mid-May and we are officially on muscle watch with Jonathan Isaac.
Entering the draft, Isaac was listed at 205 pounds according to Draft Express. The Magic listed him at 210 pounds this season. It definitely seemed like Isaac could make some weight gains.
And it looks like that process has already started.
The injuries certainly were a setback for Isaac. He appeared in only 27 games averaging 5.4 points per game and shooting a horrid 37.9 percent from the floor. He left a lot to be desired.
But the team had the best defensive rating with Isaac on the floor. Observationally, his defensive impact was clear. He was immediately one of the best individual defensive players on the team.
Isaac said he felt very comfortable on the defensive end. And even though he knows he made mistakes, he found grasping defensive concepts and recovering easier than expected.
Seeing make some muscle gains will go a long way to improving his defensive stature.
Of course, Isaac has to grow his technical skills too. He has to improve as a jump shooter and get more comfortable on the ball. That is what a lot of his offseason work will focus on too.
All the muscle watch videos are fine, but fans will have to wait until Summer League in July to get a clearer look at Isaac and any improvements he has made.