On Saturday night, Isaac offered proof on back-to-back defensive possessions.
“That was super-fun,” Isaac said afterward. “I kind of caught him when he didn’t know I was behind him, and he tried to get a quick one.”
On Miami’s next possession, Isaac sprinted out to the perimeter to contest a pump-fake by Wayne Ellington. And when Ellington immediately shifted right and launched a step-back 3, Isaac blocked the attempt.
To summarize: That was two blocks in a span of 21 seconds.
Whiteside has the bigger name than Ellington, but Isaac’s block on Ellington was the more impressive play because it demonstrated Isaac’s agility, quick reactions and court sense.
Isaac, who played one season at FSU and just turned 20 years old, already has made a strong first impression on Vogel.
“For me, anything he does on the offensive end is gravy, and he’s got a good feel [there] on the offensive end,” Vogel said. “But he is NBA-ready to come in and impact our team on the defensive end right now, and he’s showing it every time we see him out there [with] his length at the rim [and] his ability to guard on the perimeter. It’s beyond his years.
“He’s still got to learn the tricks of some of the vets in this league and all that stuff. He’s still going to be picked on by the officials. We’re going to see all that, as we should with any rookie. But I’m very impressed, as anybody that’s watching [can see], with what he can do on the defensive end. He’s going to give us a big lift there.”
Isaac is still learning to feel comfortable.
He felt nervous in his preseason debut on Oct. 2 in Memphis, Tenn., and felt nervous again last Thursday in his home preseason debut.
On Saturday against the Heat, though, he felt perfectly fine.
With three exhibition games down, he’s at the exact midpoint of his first NBA preseason.
“I think the biggest thing that stands out to me is communication: how much you have to talk and how much you need to communicate with your teammates on what’s going on,” Isaac said. “There’s just plays when both of you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t say anything. Sometimes it’s better to say the wrong thing than say nothing at all.”
• At least two celebrities attended the Magic’s 93-90 win over the Heat on Saturday. U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bruce Arena watched the game. So did one of the team’s stars, Christian Pulisic, who plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
• The Magic did not practice Sunday, but they flew to Dallas for Monday night’s exhibition game against the Dallas Mavericks.
• Vogel likely will tweak his starting lineup against the Mavericks and again Tuesday night against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio. Vogel said he probably will give some of his “core guys” the night off Monday and others the night off Tuesday. The goal is to ensure other players receive some playing time.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.