Cleveland Cavaliers: This wrinkle could pay off for Isaac Okoro in PnR

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talks with Cleveland wing Isaac Okoro in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talks with Cleveland wing Isaac Okoro in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

An ankle injury to Darius Garland, in particular, had some to do with it, but Isaac Okoro in the closing batch of games did have some more on-ball responsibilites for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That largely resulted in Okoro having more of a workload, and he did show some positive signs, having 15.9 points per outing in his last 10 games of his rookie campaign.

He has a ways to go on the offensive end to become more polished, sure, and 9.6 points per game on the season in 32.4 minutes per contest demonstrated that, to a degree. Okoro needs to continue working on his catch-and-shoots, too, as was shown by him having hit just 29.0 percent of his three-point attempts overall.

As a driver, Okoro appeared to gain more confidence as the year wore on, on the plus side, though, and we saw more of that sort of thing from April-until the close of the season. That was demonstrated in the aforementioned batch of closing games as well, and even before was, when Cleveland was not necessarily nearly as injury-riddled.

Okoro also did show some positive signs as a playmaker, especially toward the closing stretch, as Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff expressed recently; his assist rate was a higher 13.3 percent in his last 10 games. That included some notable pick-and-roll work, too, as Bickerstaff alluded to.

Okoro did show some capability to hit spray-outs to shooters, more so in a secondary playmaking way, at points in the season out of the pick-and-roll, and did prove to be very effective in that realm at Auburn in his lone collegiate year there.

That’s something to build on for him in Year 2/moving forward, it’d seem with the Cavaliers. I’m not discounting that, either, and it did aid Kevin Love, Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Dean Wade here and there.

But it would pay off for Okoro to at times get deliveries to rollers, too, which would be a nice wrinkle for him/Cleveland.

Hitting Cavs rollers at times could be a nice wrinkle for Okoro.

I’m not suggesting that we will see Okoro as a PnR playmaker/ball handler a ton of the time next season, such as will be the case involving Garland. Lets just put that out there first.

However, I still do think that in Year 2, with him showing progress with his PnR feel, and showing some change-of-pace as the season wore on to help his drives, that we could see some more Okoro as a PnR passer.

He again, while 2.1 assists per-36 minutes didn’t showcase it on the season in totality, did show good signs in the secondary playmaking realm. That led to some quality feeds for shooters, as was noted, and his timing in that regard seemingly got better later on, which was something to build on.

More from King James Gospel

Okoro could take things a step further if, while not a bunch of the time clearly, he can develop some ability to hit rollers at times with interior passes, such as Jarrett Allen and/or Isaiah Hartenstein here and there, if Hartenstein is around.

Okoro didn’t show those sort of feeds this season, really, but to me, if he can improve his handle this upcoming offseason some, and in film study, can see those sort of passes/feel out the timing needed, that could be a nice wrinkle.

That could perhaps be in spurts when Garland gets a breather here and there, or just allow him/Sexton to play off-ball a bit more in-game.

If Okoro can show some viability in executing those sort of passes, even just occasionally in games, that could lead to some more quality interior feeds to Allen/Hartenstein, leading to dunks/free throws for them.

Maybe some lob passes over-the-top from time to time could be a step from there, even? Even if that is a stretch, and I’m not saying I’d be expecting it, that could enable Okoro to get a half step on his primary defender, and lead to a quality interior look for himself, though.

Plus, if Isaac can display the feel/vision improvement to hit these passes here and there in games, it could lead to easier skip passes to Garland/Sexton/Kevin Love/Wade/Dylan Windler/Larry Nance Jr. playing off that, even.

Okoro showing some pull-up viability could take this suggestion another step further, of course, albeit if Ice can hit pocket feeds at times game-to-game, that’d be another way he could help free up others, and as games progress, himself as well.

Next. 3 takeaways from Sexton's 2020-21 season. dark

Either way, that’s something to watch potentially play out on the floor in 2021-22/moving forward, and would indicate continued passing progression from the 20-year-old. Stay tuned.