It seems like just yesterday when Nikola Jokic was rushing to get home to his horses after winning his first NBA championship. “Unfortunately” for him, in just under four weeks, NBA teams across the league will report for training camp. After a long offseason that included trade requests, big contracts, and more Ben Simmons workout videos, the NBA season is inching closer. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, this season is all about taking the next step, and this offseason was all about addressing that.
After a first-round exit against the New York Knicks that saw them succumb to the bright lights, the Cavs knew they had to make improvements to the roster if they wanted to compete. They accomplished this by signing snipers Max Strus, and Georges Niang, who combined to make 351 three pointers last season. The Cavs also brought back Caris LeVert, and signed Ty Jerome and Damian Jones for more depth. They did all of this while retaining their core four of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.
Even after a successful offseason, there are still questions about the Cavs as the season gets closer. Here are my three burning questions I have for them.
I am not sure what to think of Isaac Okoro. On one hand, I see a player with a tireless work ethic, a great defensive motor, and an amazing teammate. On the other, I see a player that is still scared to shoot the ball, and puts the Cavs at a huge disadvantage on the offensive end of the floor. It is four-on-five when the Cavs have the ball with Okoro on the court. Defenses simply do not respect him enough to defend him, and he is not aggressive enough to gain that respect. It is very unfortunate too, as Okoro is the best perimeter defender on the roster, and the Cavs do not really have a perimeter stopper of his caliber.
In the playoff series against the Knicks, Okoro held star guard Jalen Brunson to eight-of-22 shooting when he was the primary defender. He was their best option for him, but on offense he would almost negate that completely due to his offensive incompetence. With the Cavs bringing in Strus and Niang for more shooting on the wing, and LeVert being brought back, there is a real chance the Cavs say goodbye to Okoro at the trade deadline.
It would be a shame to admit another top draft pick for this franchise was a failure, but if Okoro does not improve, then tough conversations will be had.