The honeymoon rebuilding phase is over. The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer going to be a sneaky team or surprise people. They now have the weight of expectations following them around. That is what happens when you acquire a superstar like Donovan Mitchell, end a five-year playoff drought, win 51 games, and finish as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, it is all about taking the next step: becoming a championship contender.
The last couple seasons it’s been about growth and showing the league what they are made of. Now, the pressure is on. The Cavs are not in championship-or-bust mode yet, but they certainly cannot suffer from any setbacks or regress in any shape or form from here on out. To add to the pressure, Mitchell can become a free agent in 2025, and while he is happy in Cleveland, the aura of New York is still stuck in his head.
With that being said, the pressure is on in The Land, not just on the team, but players too. Here are the three Cavaliers that are under the most pressure next season. We will start with the most embattled wing player on the roster.
The Cavs player under the most pressure next season: Isaac Okoro
The highest heat level on a stove is 10. If Isaac Okoro is on the the Cavs roster next season, the stove is on 12 for him. That is the amount of heat and pressure that is on him right now. I do not have any criticism of Okoro’s work ethic or defensive ability, and he is also an outstanding teammate and can be a positive asset for this team. However, as a wing player in the NBA, you need to be a shooter or at least be an offensive threat. Okoro is none of those things and more.
Being a non-offensive threat as a wing is like not having Mac N Cheese on your plate at Thanksgiving. It just does not make sense. While Okoro has increased his three-point percentage every year he’s been in the league, he has only attempted 2.3 per game the past two seasons. It’s the lack of confidence and aggression that is very concerning. Most of the looks he gets are wide-open too, and the fact that Okoro is hesitating to take a WIDE-OPEN three-pointer is very concerning. He was almost unplayable against the New York Knicks due to his offensive ineptitude, and it was four-on-five on offense.
This was very unfortunate as Okoro was by far the Cavaliers’ best option when it came to guarding Knicks superstar Jalen Brunson, as he held Brunson to 7-of-21 shooting from the field as his primary defender. The problem with Okoro isn’t that he can’t shoot it into the ocean. The problem is that he WON’T shoot it into the ocean and it is so frustrating.
He is still very young and has a lot of room to grow, but if he is on the roster next season he needs to show significant signs of improvement. Otherwise, he will almost assuredly be replaced.