The summer months of the year are when GMs remake their rosters and reload for another title tilt. Fall is usually a different story, front offices use September and October to drill down into the rosters and work out their weaknesses.
In October of last year, Philadelphia had an issue with overcrowding at the guard spots. Between Tyrese Maxey, Furkan Korkmaz, De’Anthony Melton, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton and Isaiah Joe, they had six guards fighting for three roster spots. It was not an envious situation to be and Daryl Morey ended up taking the decision to waive Joe.
Isaiah had played fine during his two seasons in Philadelphia but did not necessarily. Doc Rivers’ decision to have Joe on a tight leash did not help matters. Without consistency or trust from the coaching staff, Isaiah failed to achieve his potential and fell out of the rotations for the 2022 Playoffs.
Fortunately for him, he was able to land a roster spot quite quickly. On October 16, he was signed by the Thunder, just three days after being waived. He had a supporter of his in the Thunder’s front office fighting his case.
Vince Rozman spent the better part of 15 years working for the 76ers and circumstance meant that he was responsible for their 2020 Draft. After a disastrous 2019-20 season, Elton Brand chose to step back from some of his responsibilities and focus on being a general manager.
The Sixers then hired Daryl Morey in October 2020 to preside over basketball operations but he arrived just a month before the Draft. He did not necessarily have the preparation or understanding of the roster to carry out draft selections and so he deferred the responsibility to Rozman, VP of scouting.
Vince took five players in that Draft and found serious value in the second round with Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed and Shake Milton. Joe was his pick and Rozman played a role in bringing Isaiah to Oklahoma City.
It is an unbelievable story to look back on. Joe signs with the team just before training camp on a long-term, cheap deal and has just gone from strength to strength. He is shooting a scarcely believable 45.3% from downtown and ranks third in the league in 3-point efficiency. Joe is now a key part of Coach Daigneault’s rotation and is starting to have big scoring nights with more frequency.
He is a legitimate flamethrower from downtown and is the ideal complementary for all of the playmakers on the Thunder’s roster. Put him next to Shai or Giddey and Joe will have a quick 15 points on uber-efficient shooting.
It is even less believable that Isaiah has just fallen into our laps after so many years of trying to find capable shooters who can also guard adequately.
You had the likes of Anthony Morrow and Alex Abrines who could drain long bombs but struggled hard on defense. You had the likes of Terrance Ferguson and Kyle Singler who liked building brick houses. We even had previously elite shooters like Doug McDermott just nosedive when wearing Thunder Blue.
Having someone like Joe who can shoot and pass and guard is just wonderful. It is safe to say that Joe is part of the Thunder’s young core and is the best free agent signing in the franchise’s history. His impact for this team is already miles better than what Patrick Patterson or Nerlens Noel or even Derek Fisher achieved in a Thunder uniform.