3 Cavaliers who have earned more playing time after stars return

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks
Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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Isaac Okoro is silencing the doubters and making big plays for the Cavaliers

Isaac Okoro and the Cavaliers did not come to an agreement on an extension before the deadline in the offseason, meaning Okoro will enter restricted free agency in 2024. The young wing joined Cleveland as the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft but did not progress into the 3-and-D talent the Cavs envisioned when they selected him.

The defense has always been there for Okoro. His ability to drive and finish through contact at the rim is almost always present. His 3-point shot, a skill the Cavaliers desperately need from him, could not consistently appear until this season. The former Auburn forward has shot a career-high 37.9 percent from deep alongside a career highs in both assists (2.0) and rebounds (3.5) in 26 minutes per game.

In half of his appearances this season, Okoro has come off the bench. Since entering the starting five with the current injuries, Okoro has showcased an improved talent for playmaking, as well. His developed shooting range has allowed him to create for his teammates, giving even more value to the young wing. With his increased productivity, Okoro is a difference maker for the Cavs right now and deserves to continue in a larger role once the stars return.

While Okoro deserves more responsibility, he is still likely best in the second unit for Cleveland. As great as he has looked, he is still an undersized forward that does not provide the level of value that Max Strus has offered in the starting five. Okoro's tough playstyle is invaluable to Cleveland's depth, though, suggesting that re-signing him could be a priority for the Cavs in free agency at the right price.