Prospect No. 2 – Isaac Okoro
It’s tough to say if Isaac Okoro will ever live up to the hype of being a top 5 pick in the NBA. He still hasn’t been a successful offensive player, but his defense has been his main selling point. Perimeter defense was his bread and butter coming into the league during the 2020 NBA Draft, and considering the Cavs were a poor defensive team in the 2019-20 season, it made Okoro the obvious pick for Cleveland when their pick came around.
Still, he’s only 22 years old, and will likely be a restricted free agent next offseason. His three-point percentage has increased every season, and he shot a solid 36.3 percent from distance last season. Considering he shot an abysmal 29.0 percent from beyond the arc in his rookie year, an increase of plus-7.3 percent in only two seasons is impressive, even with him not taking a ton of threes.
The one thing that Okoro doesn’t have, besides a lot of offensive firepower, is a set role. In his rookie year, he was the full-time starter. In his sophomore season, he was the starting shooting guard often, even though he was a small forward in college and in his rookie year predominantly. Last season, he started 46 out of 76 total games in the regular season, and in his first playoff series, he played 15 minutes per game in five games.
Further, with the Cavs’ new signings, Okoro’s role looks like it will be the smallest that it has ever been, and he might be let walk in free agency if he doesn’t prove himself next season. Okoro most likely won’t be the starting small forward, barring injuries, or a jump in his production. He still is the second-best prospect on the team, though, that was the right call.