Cavs: All-Rookie 2nd Team bid is boost for Isaac Okoro for offseason

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro drives to the basket. (Photo by Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro drives to the basket. (Photo by Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro had some ups and downs in his rookie campaign, but in a year that had the quickest draft-to-regular season turnaround in NBA history because of the COVID-19 pandemic-affected year, he did more than fine.

We do need to see more from Okoro game-to-game next season, as he had 9.6 points in 32.4 minutes per outing, which didn’t blow any doors off. Okoro shot 29.0 percent from three-point range, which wasn’t stellar, along those lines.

As the season wore on though, there were more positive signs for the youngster on offense, and he appeared to be more comfortable post-All-Star. From April onward, in particular, he was more confident offensively, which was good to see, and while injuries did admittedly play into it some, Okoro did have 16.2 points per contest in his last 12 games of Year 1.

And on the defensive end, though there does need to be more positive signs there looking onward, for the most part, he did do a pretty solid job for a player in his first season.

That’s even more so with Okoro typically guarding the opponent’s best scorer each game; his efforts on that end for a 20-year-old rookie, all things considered, were admirable and in the long run, those will pay off, I believe.

In any case, while again there are areas he’ll need to show improvement, and offensively for one, as we noted, Okoro’s rookie year was encouraging, given the circumstances/condensed schedule.

It was nice to see him get some recognition for his efforts and him continuing to take on the challenge night-to-night, too, as per a release from the league on Thursday night, Okoro was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Others on that squad were Desmond Bane, Immanuel Quickley, Isaiah Stewart and Patrick Williams; on the All-Rookie First Team were the likes of LaMelo Ball, the Rookie of the Year, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey.

This All-Rookie Second Team bid is a boost for Okoro for the offseason/heading into his Year 2 for the Cavs.

As we touched on, Ice needs to show more consistency on the offensive end moving forward; I’m not disputing that.

But I do believe there could be plenty on that end that’s untapped for him, and how Okoro closed out last season substantiated that thought process from my end.

Next season, while I get he’s not going to have the usage of say, Collin Sexton or Darius Garland, and Cleveland needs to utilize perimeter shooters such as Kevin Love still seemingly, Dean Wade and others, and Jarrett Allen’s set to be in the mix, Okoro should get more on-ball opportunities.

The Cavs reportedly want to utilize him more in the pick-and-roll, for instance, and some in the mid-post even, which could pay dividends for the young wing.

To reiterate though, it’s a plus for Okoro to get some recognition for his efforts and for how he continued to take on the challenge defensively night-to-night, even while playing a bunch of minutes.

And this honor should be a confidence boost, to me, for the young wing for the offseason to keep working hard (he reportedly is a tireless worker, too), and for him to keep progressing heading into his second season with the Cavs.

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There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about Isaac’s outlook for the Wine and Gold.