The Cleveland Cavaliers have a number of young, ascendant players who have given them a future no one could’ve imagined even two years ago.
Darius Garland has given them a 22-year-old All-Star and floor general to build around who averaged 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per game this season.
In Evan Mobley, the Cavs have a big man who is coming off an impressive rookie season and appears to have superstar potential a few years down the road.
Jarrett Allen has given Mobley an All-Star frontcourt teammate, while Ochai Agbaji, the 14th overall pick in last week’s NBA draft, could be the wing of the future Cleveland needs to eventually become an elite team.
But where does Isaac Okoro fit in?
He is someone who was thought to have plenty of potential, but he still hasn’t realized much of it.
Okoro Was Supposed To Become A 3-and-D Wing
Okoro, a native of Georgia, was taken by the Cavs with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Scouts and observers lauded his athletic gifts, strength, finishing ability and defensive potential.
But thus far, Okoro hasn’t been the consistent complementary player Cleveland was hoping he would become.
As a rookie, he averaged 9.6 points per game while shooting just 42.0 percent overall from the field and 29.0 percent from 3-point range.
This season, he showed some significant improvement, as he made 48.0 percent of his shots from the field and 35.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff took to playing Okoro more at the 2 than the 3, as opposed to 2021, when he split time almost evenly at the two positions.
Where Okoro arguably helps the Cavs more than anywhere else is on the defensive end.
He may not be a true “defensive stopper,” but his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame and decent 6-foot-8 wingspan can bother opponents.
Isaac Okoro BALL GAME!!!✌️✌️✌️pic.twitter.com/OTMQYvbzqt
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationCP) January 17, 2022
However, he is just an OK shooter, and he cannot create his own shot, which can make him a liability on the offensive end at times.
Is he a player the Cavs should rely on moving forward?
Cleveland Needs Better Outside Shooting
Although the Cavs ranked 15th in 3-point shooting this season at 35.5 percent, which certainly isn’t bad, it’s a misleading stat.
Only three of their rotation players shot better than 36 percent for the entire year: Garland, Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo.
The team greatly needs young, productive wings that can consistently knock down long jumpers, and it’s something Okoro needs to get better at.
He made just 34.8 percent of his 3-point attempts from the corners in 2022, which is rather anemic.
If he gets to the point where he is hitting at least 37 or 38 percent of his total shots from beyond the arc, it would dissuade opponents from swarming Garland or keying on Mobley and Allen in the paint, and it would also pump up the team’s offense a bit.
Isaac okoro. If he can start shooting 3s better he’d be incredible. Attacks basket well and already elite defender
— Jeff Hol〽️es (@Jhomey12) May 20, 2022
But if Okoro doesn’t accomplish that, he could, at least conceivably, end up being trade bait for a Cleveland team that will not be bashful about looking to improve on the open market.
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