Back in August, Isaiah Joe was one of a few standouts during the Philadelphia 76ers' Summer League run. After a strong showing in Las Vegas, Joe was looking to capitalize on that momentum and show out during the 2021 NBA Preseason.
In the Sixers' first game against the Toronto Raptors, Joe collected 18 points off the bench, knocking down 50-percent of his threes. During the second game, in a rematch against Toronto, the second-year guard put up another 15 points, hitting on three of his four three-point shots.
When he was inserted into the starting lineup for the third outing against the Brooklyn Nets, Joe lit it up from beyond the arc as he hit on five of his seven three-point attempts and collected 20 points in the big victory.
Although the fourth and final outing was his most underwhelming yet, it was far from a disappointing matchup. During the Sixers' preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons, Joe put up 14 points and drained four of his eight threes.
To say Joe was a preseason standout is an understatement. Ever since the Sixers tipped off the start of the four-game schedule, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear he wanted to give Joe more minutes to see if he could maintain that early preseason success throughout training camp and the remainder of the schedule.
Now that the final numbers are in and the second-year guard averaged nearly 60-percent from beyond the arc and put up 17 points per game, it's become clear to Doc Rivers that the young sharpshooter has earned himself a spot in the rotation.
"To keep playing the way he's playing and to keep growing, he's shown us a lot," said Doc Rivers in regards to Isaiah Joe. "He's been great. You know, where he's at offensively this year is where I honestly thought he would be more last year. He was more advanced last year defensively than he was offensively. Even though he has a cannon, he just didn't use it. He didn't know how to get open. This year, he's been wonderful. He's doing everything. So, he's gonna play minutes, and that's good for us. The guys have confidence in him, and that's a good thing."
Doc Rivers has never been one to pick and number of guys to have in a rotation and stick with it. As the head coach made clear early on this offseason, if enough guys are performing well and prove they belong on the floor, he won't hesitate to expand the number of players that garner minutes during the regular season.
Some might've believed the head coach could become hesitant with giving Joe playing time in the regular season because he's still young and only had a small sample size of training camp and preseason to prove he belongs in the primary rotation -- but it seems Rivers has bought into the former Arkansas sharpshooter.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.