The Philadelphia 76ers have a solid group of young players that are looking to grow their roles in 2021-2022. Last season, first-round draft pick Tyrese Maxey was constantly battling for minutes in the team's primary rotation during the regular season and eventually found himself garnering notable playoff minutes as well.
At this point, it's apparent that Maxey will have a significant role for the Sixers this upcoming season, whether it's in the starting lineup or coming off the bench. But he isn't the only one from Philly's 2020 NBA draft class to turn heads this offseason.
Second-year guard Isaiah Joe showed some solid flashes during his rookie year, but he struggled to crack the rotation when the team was healthy. Heading into year two, Joe is making it difficult for Doc Rivers to keep him stashed on the bench.
During Philly's preseason opener against the Toronto Raptors last week, Joe was one of very few Sixers players to put on a notable performance. In 25 minutes, he went 5-9 from the field, knocking down 50-percent of his threes and collecting 18 points.
When the two teams met for a rematch in Philly, Joe checked in for 22 minutes off the bench. During that time, he drained five of his seven shots from the field and hit on all but one of his four three-point attempts. He wrapped up the game with 15 points.
The following matchup became his biggest yet. Facing the Brooklyn Nets, Joe was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time during the preseason. After earning 26 minutes in the victory over Brooklyn, Joe went 5-7 from three and collected 20 total points.
On Friday, Joe came off the bench once again. As the Sixers faced the Detroit Pistons for the fourth and final outing of the preseason, he saw the court for 22 minutes. After knocking down 50-percent of his threes, Joe put up 14 points in the loss to Detroit.
Following Friday night's game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers revealed that Joe has a team-wide nickname within the locker room due to his consistent shooting.
"Isaiah, we call him a flame thrower," Doc Rivers said. "Give yourself a chance. That's what we keep telling him. He's range-less. He can shoot the ball, but what I still like is that he's finding places to shoot the ball, he's moving well without the ball, he's putting the ball on the floor, and he defends. He sticks his nose in there, so that's good."
Joe averaged roughly 60-percent from beyond the arc while averaging 17 points per game in the preseason. After seeing four preseason games and a couple of weeks worth of practices, Rivers is confident there is a chance the former Arkansas sharpshooter can mirror that production outside of the preseason.
"If he gets those same shots in the regular season, he'll shoot 60-percent in the regular season," Rivers said. "He can just shoot the ball." It's unclear if Joe's tremendous offseason will gain him minutes in the regular-season rotation or not, but it sure seems like Rivers is leaning towards giving the second-year sharpshooter a shot.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.