Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro looks poised for strong finish

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro drives to the basket. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro drives to the basket. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Isaac Okoro looks to be figuring it out for the Cleveland Cavaliers on the offensive end lately, which has been refreshing to see.

Okoro has had just 8.3 points per outing on the season, and has hit only 31.2 percent of his three-point attempts overall. That scoring output in 31.8 minutes per outing hasn’t been stellar, and Okoro needs to progress in relation to his handle in the upcoming offseason.

I’m not disputing that, and the lack of pull-up game from Okoro to counter closeouts to off-the-catch looks/drives to the rim is something that hopefully will be a point of emphasis for him looking onward.

That said, Okoro has shown plenty of flashes as a driver, and has been able to manufacture trips to the free throw line more as of late.

And in terms of the off-ball element, Okoro’s feel for timing cuts to be targeted by Darius Garland and more recently, Matthew Dellavedova, who has been back lately, has led to great looks for the rookie wing.

In a general sense, though, Isaac has been figuring it out more so offensively as the season is now at its likely 3/4 mark for Cleveland. Coupled with what Okoro has shown as a solid/highly capable defender, even for a 20-year-old, that’s been very encouraging.

Okoro looks poised for a strong finish to the season for the Cavs.

Okoro again is not close to a finished product offensively, and needs to incrementally add to his game in coming years, but considering how the layout of this season has been and rookies had next to 0 offseason after the draft, he deserves a ton of slack.

And of late, as Kelsey Russo of The Athletic detailed in a recent report (subscription required), the rook has been showing more offensively, and Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff urging him to do more offensively has paid off. Okoro, as Russo expressed, had a then-season-high 17 points at the Miami Heat on April 3 in what was a game where the Cavaliers were still thin in the frontcourt.

Plus, on Sunday, while Collin Sexton (left groin strain) and Darius Garland (right ankle sprain) weren’t active, Isaac then had another season/career-high with 19 points, and got to the line and made his free throw attempts. He was 2-of-4 from three in that one, too.

Additionally, Okoro had a nice 15-point outing in the Cavaliers’ big W at the San Antonio Spurs on April 5, and as a driver in both settled offense and/or in transition/secondary transition has looked more decisive, which has led to better looks for him.

As we also noted, the presence of Dellavedova has led to some great cutting looks for Okoro in spurts with the veteran point guard, too, which has helped the rook get some more confidence in games, which is always a plus.

So, while the usage has not been high for Okoro, and he does need to further progress looking onward, as was emphasized, he is figuring it out on the offensive end it appears.

The volume, to reiterate, had not been high, but Okoro having hit 37.0 percent of his 2.7 attempts in 29.9 minutes per game in his past 10 games prior to Wednesday’s W at the Charlotte Hornets, in which he had 9.8 points per outing, was a good sign. Okoro had only seven points on Wednesday, and was 0-of-2 from deep, but typically, the young wing has been using his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame more to create/initiate contact as a driver recently, too, which seems to be paying off.

The way things have been shaking out in this slate of games, to build off how Okoro initially started off the month of April, the Auburn product looks poised for a strong close to his rookie campaign.

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If he can progress on-ball by improving that handle and/or establish some pull-up viability, Okoro could be a really good two-way wing in the near future. We’re starting to see those signs more as he gains confidence game-to-game.