Cavs draft: 2 things that jumped out from Isaac Okoro interview

Auburn Tigers forward Isaac Okoro reacts with teammates after a win. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Auburn Tigers forward Isaac Okoro reacts with teammates after a win. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Potential Cavs draft pick Isaac Okoro had virtual media availability on Wednesday.

At their #5 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, wing Isaac Okoro would appear to be well in-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The same goes for Obi Toppin and Deni Avdija, though, too, along with Onyeka Okongwu, I’d imagine.

What was of note for Cavs fans on Wednesday when it comes to Okoro, Toppin and Avdija, too, was their virtual media availability. But to me, of the three, the most notable interview of the three was Okoro’s.

Okoro, who is arguably the best defender in this draft class, with his switchability, fluidity, and functional athleticism, and sturdy 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame, projects to be a big-time player on that end, even early on.

Albeit what Okoro alluded to in relation to two areas, in particular, in his virtual media availability on Wednesday, jumped out.

Okoro addressing his shooting and hitting on potentially playing with Cavs guard Collin Sexton jumped out.

Okoro’s shooting is a question mark, as he didn’t show much pull-up capability at all, and Okoro hit only 28.6 percent of his three-point shooting attempts overall in his lone collegiate campaign at Auburn.

Okoro placing in the 56th percentile on spot-ups in 2019-20, per Synergy Sports and as h/t The Stepien’s Spencer Pearlman was decent, but again, it’s evident Okoro has a ways to go with his shooting.

These comments from him, though, via’s Chris Fedor and Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score, seem to suggest that Cleveland could aid Okoro in his catch-and-shoot/on-ball progression in coming years, if they were to draft him.

Now, Okoro’s self-evaluation and calling his jumper “a B+” bordering A territory currently, via Westerlund, is something to read into with a grain of salt. We know that; a prospect is going to be biased, but him saying any aspect of his game in-season was sub-B- leads me to consider it a bit more.

And when you factor in that perimeter shooting, especially, was a key weakness it appeared coming into the NBA for Collin Sexton, whose hit 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts in two seasons with the Cavs, it leads me to believe Cleveland could help Okoro in that area.

The Cavs player development staff has aided Cedi Osman and Larry Nance Jr. considerably in the catch-and-shoot department, it seems, too, and tweaks in Okoro’s shot, of which Fedor hit on in the article tweeted out above, could be a positive looking onward.

Okoro, who reportedly workout out for the Cavs, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves believes he seemingly did his part in selling his offense being a strength and not a weakness of his overall game to teams, also, in workouts for those three.

Moving on from the shooting aspect, Okoro’s relationship with Sexton in growing up near the same area jumped out from the former’s virtual media availability as well, as was noted. Okoro, like Sexton, grew up in the Atlanta area, and the Auburn product mentioned how he’d be a big fan of playing with the Young Bull.

Here was a notable soundbite in that realm, as transcribed by Fedor.

"“Both of us are competitors, so having us two competitors on the same team would honestly be awesome,” Okoro said."

Now, the aforementioned Avdija I foresee as being Sexton-esque as a competitor, but that area of Okoro’s game is clearly a key strength of his, too. Okoro is reportedly a really diligent worker as well, which would assuredly mesh with Sexton, among others, on the Cavaliers.

In any case, Okoro has a ways to go as a shooter, and that’s apparent, and you’d have liked him to hit more than 67.2 percent of his free throw attempts in 2019-20.

But, factoring in how he’s maybe the best defensive prospect in this draft, is an elite finisher, has impressive functional athleticism and also could be a good pick-and-roll playmaking option, the Cavaliers should be very strongly considering selecting him. That’s if he’s available, of course, albeit with notable two-way potential/all-around ability, Okoro has the makings of Cleveland’s long-term starting 3, from my perspective.

As a brief side note, though, via Fedor, the Cavaliers also have met with/I’m assuming worked out Obi Toppin, Avdija (although he didn’t provide much concrete stuff about workouts), guard prospect RJ Hampton and Okongwu to this point.

Next. Best-case scenario for Okoro if he's drafted by the Cavs. dark

We’ll see what happens come Nov. 18, but Okoro should be firmly in the mix for the Wine and Gold.