Houston Rockets: Who is Isaiah Canaan?

By Phillip Pyle

Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With the 34th pick in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft the Houston Rockets selected Isaiah Canaan,  a point guard from Murray St. At 6’1″ and 195 pounds he lead his team in scoring finishing with 21.8 points per game, and 4.3 dimes. He was in mock drafts as high as the 15th pick.

via Draft Express Canaan doesn’t possess an incredible first step, and isn’t a tremendous athlete in general, but he is very quick with his dribble and maintains excellent control, allowing him to play faster with the ball in his hands than his overall athleticism would indicate. He does a good job changing direction with his dribble, and has improved changing pace this year, something he didn’t always do much of in previous years, but will be key if he hopes to have success at the next level. He’s very comfortable splitting the pick, presenting another tough move in his arsenal that defenders have to game plan against, and likes to create contact in the lane with his strong, 200 pound frame, often just overpowering weaker OVC guards, drawing plenty of fouls in the process.

Once he gets into the lane he’s not always able to capitalize on the attention he receives, however. Canaan isn’t incredibly explosive, which presents problems finishing at the rim over length. He is shooting only 49.4% on his two point attempts this season and just 49% at the rim overall according to Synergy Sports Technology, both well below average, especially relative to the level of competition he plays against. He has an array of floaters in the lane which help offset this, and despite his diminutive size, Canaan has a well-developed upper body and does not shy away from contact, allowing him to draw fouls at a fairly impressive rate considering his small stature.

The late-season pickup of Aaron Brooks, showed a lack of depth at the point guard  . Patrick Beverly played with outstanding poise in the Playoffs, once Jeremy Lin was unable to play due to injury. Expect Canaan to get an opportunity to showcase his abilities during the Orlando Summer League starting July 7th.

Here is a 12-minute documentary on Isaiah: