Cavs: Isaac Okoro should again have fairly high FT rate in Year 2

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (left) talks with Cleveland wing Isaac Okoro in-game. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (left) talks with Cleveland wing Isaac Okoro in-game. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Looking at next season, it’s apparent that Isaac Okoro needs to make strides with his shot over the offseason. Okoro had flashes as a catch-and-shoot threat, and it was a plus to see him more confident in the closing stretch of the year for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but a 29.0 percent hit rate from three-point range was not great.

So looking onward, he’ll need to improve there, and I’m sure there will be plenty of reps for him in that realm heading into next season.

As KJG’s Amadou Sow demonstrated too, though, for Okoro’s driving abilities and to have more consistency in set offense, showing some viability as a mid-range shooter would pay dividends next season.

Clearly, he’ll need to show some capability to hit pull-ups and/or more feel on floaters from here, but this past season, and with the lightning quick turnaround/condensed season, I’m not going to grill him regarding that sort of thing.

We did see more on-ball capabilities from Okoro leading into the season’s end, too, even with injuries likely playing into more usage.

With another year under his belt and a full offseason ahead for him, I do believe we’ll see Okoro take noticeable strides on the offensive end.

Getting him some looks on the mid-post next season, both from a scoring and secondary playmaking perspective, could make a difference for him as well, and that is reportedly something that should play out, per Spencer Davies of

Hopefully that can help Okoro be able to set up some interior looks after a few dribbles, perhaps leading to push shots and baseline drives as a counter off of that, for one. And Okoro in that spot could initiate meaningfull ball-swings via skip feeds from there to aid Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Love/Dean Wade and others, for what it’s worth.

In a general sense though, one thing does seem certain in relation to Year 2 for him: and that’s that his free throw rate should again be a healthy clip.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Okoro should again have a fairly high free throw rate in Year 2.

Okoro, while his handle does need to improve, did demonstrate that he looks to be one of Cleveland’s primary threats.

When his 225-pound frame is moving downhill, he can create separation from defenders with his strength, and even with there needing to be more viability on push shots, I’d still expect him to get his share of looks near the rim. Hopefully, in that regard, Okoro keeps proving to initiate contact in those instances, too, as he showed more of as the season wore on.

Overall, though, also factoring in potentially some real mid-post looks, and perhaps some more pick-and-roll usage, of which reportedly should play out, the 20-year-old will again have a fairly high free throw game-to-game.

Okoro had 2.3 free throw attempts per outing over the course of the season, but in his last 20 games, there was more aggression from him, and that led to 3.7 free throw attempts per outing. He hit 77.0 percent of his free throws in that stretch too, which was better than his season hit rate of 72.6 percent and that was a positive trend looking at next season.

Albeit for his rookie season in totality, for further context, the Auburn product had an above average free throw rate at 28.1 percent, and the season average last season for that was 24.7 percent, per Basketball Reference.

So, to me, while we’ll hopefully see Okoro progress as a shooter of course, and that needs to be a key point of emphasis from here, I still want to see Isaac showing aggression in getting to the cup and initiating contact.

That’s led to success for him, and looks in the mid-post could help in getting him some opportunities for quick moves getting to the interior, and some use of ball fakes should aid him in getting to the line again at a fairly high clip.

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I’d expect that to be the case a solid amount game-to-game, and with Okoro more assertive, that’d help him as a secondary playmaking presence, and he could feasibly aid shooters/cutters as a result throughout games.