Cavs: Dylan Windler’s shooting tips can only help Isaac Okoro

Auburn Tigers wing Isaac Okoro shoots the ball. (Photo by Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)
Auburn Tigers wing Isaac Okoro shoots the ball. (Photo by Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler is reportedly aiding his new teammate, Isaac Okoro, in a crucial area.

Isaac Okoro‘s draft selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers addressed a critical need in wing defense, and that was evident right away. Okoro’s selection doesn’t mean that the Cavs will instantly become a top 10 team defense, though, and we know that.

Cleveland has placed last in the NBA in defensive rating the past two seasons, but Okoro’s selection rightfully prioritized the defensive end of the floor. Okoro is legitimately switchable 1-4, and even while I know there’s always an adjustment for rookies, and I’m not discounting the very short turnaround, he has the makings of a big-time defender.

According to Synergy Sports, Okoro placed in the 90th percentile in one-on-one defensive situations in his lone collegiate season at Auburn. That plays into why I firmly believe he’ll establish himself as an impact defender pretty early on, and even for a 19-year-old, he has impressive defensive instincts as a helper/rotator.

Okoro had a more than respectable block rate of 3.1 percent in 2019-20 on the Tigers, and he should help the likes of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Love and Kevin Porter Jr., among others.

On the offensive end, though, while I wouldn’t expect Okoro to be a focal point of offense in the same realm of say, Sexton, Garland or Love, he can aid Cleveland there, too.

Okoro is a nice cutter, shows the capability to change speeds which helps him as a driver, plays through contact and has great touch inside when that’s applicable. Okoro placed in the 89th percentile in relation to shots around the rim in the halfcourt, per Synergy.

And in the open floor, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Okoro, with his physicality, explosion and quickness in getting downhill, will be so difficult for opponents to account for.

He placed in the 80th percentile in transition in 2019-20, per Synergy, and that was on a healthy frequency of 20.2 percent. Good luck stopping that freight train in the open floor, opposing defenses…..

Nonetheless, what looks to be the question mark for Okoro is his shooting. He didn’t prove to be much of a shooting threat off-the-bounce for the Tigers, and overall, Okoro hit 28.6 percent of his three-point attempts at Auburn. That was not ideal, and you’d have liked him to have hit more than 67.2 percent of his free throw attempts.

On the plus side, Okoro has reportedly looked good on the offensive end of the floor in Cavs training camp and has spent extra time working on his shot, too, as’s Chris Fedor highlighted. And fellow teammate Dylan Windler is aiding Okoro in regards to his shot, he shared recently with the local media, via Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell, and as Fedor’s report noted.

Kevin Love did hit on how he will seemingly be a part of a Garland, Osman and Drummond lineup featuring Okoro at the 2 at times, via Fedor, though.

It’s still hard to foresee Collin Sexton, with how he’s come on for Cleveland, though, not regularly starting. Perhaps that above lineup we could see at times in games, anyhow.

But it likely had a large part to do with how Sexton, per Fedor, reportedly suffered a minor ankle injury a few days back, and as a precaution, he won’t be in action in Cleveland’s preseason opener on Saturday versus the Indiana Pacers.

This was great to hear about regarding the Okoro shooting work, though, as Windler, who while he didn’t participate in Cleveland’s past season due to complications involving what was a stress fracture in his lower left leg, is a polished all-around shooter.

Windler’s tips can only help Okoro as a shooter for the Cavs.

Windler hit 40.6 percent of his 4.2 career three-point attempts per game in a four-year college career at Belmont, including 42.9 percent on 7.1 triple attempts per outing in his senior season in 2018-19.

Windler has a quick release, clean stroke and has big-time range off-the-catch, via spot-ups and off of movement, he’s highly capable as well. Plus, Windler is a proficient pull-up and step back/pull back shooter.

Moreover, in his senior campaign for the Bruins, Windler placed in the 94th percentile in catch-and-shoot jump shot situations in the halfcourt, and in the 85th percentile in halfcourt pull-up situations, per Synergy. So to me, it’s awesome to have learned as a Cavs fan that Okoro is getting extra work in before and after practice even with Windler to further progress as a shooter.

What’s also notable about this is that even while Windler and Okoro, to go with Cedi Osman, are reportedly battling it out for Cleveland’s starting 3 gig heading into next season, per Fedor, that Windler has worked a bunch with Okoro. That’s a player he’s again competing against to potentially win the starting small forward job for the Cavs.

It’s a team sport, clearly, and I’m sure Windler and Cedi, who has proven to be an exemplary teammate, want the best for Okoro. Albeit Windler, per Fedor’s report, immediately extending himself to form a bond with Okoro, of whom he’s in a positional battle with, speaks volumes about Windler as a teammate in his own right.

It also goes to show that the Cavaliers are seemingly building a culture that is, more than anything, about guys doing all they can to help one another and that players like Okoro will put the work in to improve their games day-to-day.

That’s encouraging, and props to both Okoro himself for putting the work in, and again to Windler for helping a teammate, but also a fellow competitor, in an internal sense, progress in hopefully improving his shot.

Fedor alluded to how it will be difficult to keep Okoro off the floor, but that the positional battle will seemingly iron itself out as camp progresses/preseason plays out. Again, we’ll see as far as that lineup noted above from Love, via Fedor, but I wouldn’t expect that to be a regular starting five, frankly.

In any case, I’d expect Okoro to clearly have a key role next season for Cleveland, and I’d think pretty early on, he’ll end up starting.

Next. 2 things Cavs fans should want to see from Dylan Windler in preseason. dark

But Osman could still have a bench role, and Windler, with his shooting abilities, to go with on-ball/cutting feel and secondary playmaking/rebounding skill, could very well have a notable bench role at the 2/3 mostly, anyhow.