In mid-July, Olympiacos signed former UNICS Kazan and Galatasaray guard Isaiah Canaan to a two-year deal.
The American guard joined the “Reds” as Tyler Dorsey’s replacement, with the latter inking a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
Dorsey was one of the best Olympiacos players last season, helping the “Reds” reach the EuroLeague Final Four and claim the Greek League title.
His departure hurt the Greek giants, who hope that Canaan will play at even higher standards than the Greek-American guard.
So, they know that Isaiah Canaan’s performance will give them the extra boost to go all the way in all competitions for a second straight season.
Offensively, Canaan is a strong and aggressive scoring point guard, who plays with a sense of confidence and intensity.
He can create for himself and is great in 1-on-1 situations, while he can play off the ball as well and score in catch-and-shoot situations.
Canaan is coming off a season where he averaged 48.1% from the field and 35.6% from beyond the arc, with Olympiacos seeking identical numbers from the 31-year-old guard next season.
He is an excellent ball handler and can cover both backcourt positions, while his ball-handling skills allow him to drive to the basket and take contact (51/54 from the free-throw line last season, 94%).
On the other end of the floor, he lacks substantial length and size, which can lead in several mis-matches during the games.
The lack of height (183 cm) can limit him on both ends, when driving to the basket or guarding opponents in the perimeter.
However, his wingspan (197 cm) helps him put on-ball pressure and harass opposing point guards into losing their handle on the ball, leading to easy fast-breaks.
Olympiacos will definitely need to pair him with top on- and off-ball defenders on the court, like Thomas Walkup and Kostas Papanikolaou, in order to protect him. For his part, Isaiah Canaan should be aggressive and avoid committing unnecessary charges.
After examining his pros and cons on both ends, we see that Isaiah Canaan brings different things to the game compared to Tyler Dorsey. So, adjusting to Olympiacos’ tactics will be key for his role and performance next season.
He will certaily need time to build chemistry with his backcourt teammates, but once this happens, he will be in a position to become the “Reds” X-Factor.
If Isaiah Canaan is an upgrade to the shooting guard position, then Olympiacos will become the favorite to return to the EuroLeague Final Four. If not, they may need to change their plans and either alter his role or bring another player that will better fit the team’s tactics.