He again does not mean what Garland or to some extent Allen does, when Allen is at near-full capacity, but it is fair to say Okoro is still one of Cleveland’s top defenders. There still are some unnecessary fouls Okoro will take at times it seems, however, those one can live with, factoring in his ball pressure and relentless play on that end.
Okoro has more than held his own and made often top perimeter options or top playmakers work, and it’s been obvious that Cleveland has missed Okoro’s improved screen navigation, and with the strides he’s made as a defensive playmaker.
It’s not as if Okoro’s absence has solely been the reason for it, but Cleveland has had a defensive rating of 116.5, and on the season, Cleveland’s defensive rating has been 113.3. Pertaining to Okoro, though, his defensive rating thus far in early-season play has been 105.8, which has been the best mark among regular Cavaliers rotation players.
Even with the small sample size with it being early season, Okoro has placed in the 90th percentile in defense of pick-and-roll ball handlers so far, and on the third-highest frequency per game, per Synergy Sports. Okoro’s ball pressure, and containing of penetration from the perimeter has been missed of late.
Also, regarding the team defensive element with Okoro, while the six-game sample and injuries did factor some into it, he did post 4.8 rebounds per game in his appearances, to go with averaging 1.2 steals. The Cavs were benefitting from how he was helping the team close possessions, and with how his urgency as a rotator led to some extra chances from turnovers forced.
From there, even with Okoro still being much more of a defensive specialist, as was previously noted, he did demonstate some encouraging signs of development offensively.