3 potential lineups that the Cavs could use involving Isaac Okoro

Auburn Tigers wing Isaac Okoro jumps for a layup. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Auburn Tigers wing Isaac Okoro jumps for a layup. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton runs down the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Potential Cleveland Cavaliers lineup #1 involving Okoro: Darius Garland-Collin Sexton-Okoro-Kevin Love-Andre Drummond

This lineup has the potential to be the starting lineup for the 2020-21 season, depending on what moves the Cavaliers make this offseason (though those won’t look to be particularly noteworthy). This lineup is nearly the same as the one the Cavs ran after the trade for Andre Drummond (who fully intends to opt into his $28.8 million player option for next season), except that Okoro would replace Cedi Osman for the starting small forward position.

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Osman’s seemingly a role player for the Cavaliers going forward more, seeing as his 2019-20 season was okay at best for the Cavaliers. Cedi signed a four-year extension with the Cavaliers last October but, it is front-loaded, meaning that the salary decreases every year.

Also, the fourth season is non-guaranteed, meaning that the Cavaliers could waive him after his third year on the contract to shed cap if need be. With his play and contract in mind, it is reasonable to believe that Osman may end up being a nice rotational piece for the Cavaliers.

With Isaac Okoro in the lineup over Osman, the Cavaliers would be improving on athleticism and defense while losing out on off-ball shooting, though Kevin Love would still be in the fold.

The biggest key here is the defense and seeing as the Cavs ranked 29th in defensive rating this now-past season for them, they could use as much help as they can get.

An Okoro draft pick could also help to improve the small backcourt duo of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. For the duo, the biggest problem for the two has been their defense.

Despite what was seen this season, the Cavs did little to help the duo and they should operate better next season. For starters, for the majority of the season, Garland didn’t play like himself and had his prior meniscus tear at Vanderbilt in his mind it seemed, and this point was emphasized in an interview with Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.

Instead of using his first offseason coming into the league to continue to improve his game, Garland had to nurse his meniscus injury and rather than ease Garland into the league, then-head coach John Beilein opted to start him right away. Now, Garland is going into the offseason healthy and should be able to add muscle and improve on his craft and hopefully be more effective as a scorer than having the 40.1 percent shooting clip he had in 2019-20.

In addition, the Cavaliers roster construction around the small backcourt was inadequate, seeing as the roster lacked defenders. Looking at small backcourts around the league for teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors, they surround them with defenders.

For the Blazers, guys like Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless at least before and Trevor Ariza (who isn’t playing for them in the NBA’s Orlando restart, though) and Jusuf Nurkic have added defense. For the Hornets, it’s players such as Nicolas Batum, PJ Washington and Cody Zeller. Lastly, for the Raptors, it’s players such as OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol and plenty more who make their defense great.

For the Cavs, Isaac Okoro could be the player that shifts the culture and could be the first step in improving this team’s overall defense. That’s with his on-ball versatility and also team defensive instincts that, in large part, enabled him to have 0.9 blocks and 0.9 steals per game.