Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro should start on Opening Night

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Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers

Auburn Tigers forward Isaac Okoro blocks a shot. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Okoro would be a defensive upgrade for the Cavs

While Cedi Osman will likely have the claim to the starting 3 spot to begin with, it would still seem, I believe he would be better suited coming off the bench and playing with players like Larry Nance Jr. and Dante Exum.

Osman is a solid player, and he does have the experience over Okoro when it comes to playing in the NBA, but I believe Cleveland needs to begin to make a statement about what kind of team they are, and the culture that comes with that. Implementing Isaac Okoro into the starting small forward position is one of the ways you can do this.

Okoro brings something to the table in Cleveland that has been lacking for a long time. One word; defense. Defense is still paramount to any teams’ success. You can put up 150 points per night, but if you give up 151, you still lose the game in the end. With Okoro the Cavaliers are making it known they want to shift the culture in Cleveland.

Okoro is a defense-minded forward. Many scouts throughout the course of this year’s NBA draft process had designated Okoro as the best wing defender. At 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Okoro is a reliable force to put against 3’s and 4’s, a bunch, of opposing teams.

He’s not the longest player with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, but despite questions reportedly coming out of Cavs camp if Okoro is “big enough” to play on the wing, per The Athletic‘s Joe Vardon (subscription required), the rookie is certainly that.

Okoro will be able to keep shooters at bay on the outside, along with preventing the opponents from penetrating down the lane. Okoro is quick enough, smart enough and capable enough to guard more than one position at a time, too/is very switchable.

Cedi is a nice NBA player, but Okoro has the potential to be a defensive powerhouse in Cleveland. Coupled with his capabilities to drive to the rim and finish, the rookie deserves a chance to prove himself.

Cleveland ranked last in defensive rating the last two seasons, so selecting Okoro has already put the Cavs on the path to improving those defensive woes.

Okoro’s defensive-minded style of play makes him a guy Cleveland can count on to guard the primary option of the opposing team on a consistent basis. And his defensive capabilities alone should warrant him an opportunity to start for the Cavaliers.

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