Isaac Okoro Has Stepped Things Up For The Cavs
Arguably the biggest weakness the Cleveland Cavaliers have is a reliable two-way starter at small forward, and so far this season, that position has been a game of musical chairs.
Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff started out with Caris LeVert at the 3, but he has also tried Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens, and none of them have particularly stood out.
Okoro struggled from 3-point range over the first two months of the season, hitting just 28.0 percent from that distance in November and 29.4 percent in December.
But more recently, he has turned things around.
In his last 20 games coming into Monday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans, a span that dated back to December 6, he shot a robust 40.0 percent from downtown while being moved into the starting lineup.
Isaac Okoro is shooting 40.0% from 3 his last 20 games ? pic.twitter.com/OrHGsHErSz
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) January 16, 2023
Then on Monday, he hit 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and scored 11 points in Cleveland’s 113-103 win to continue his hot streak.
Okoro may not be the most natural outside shooter, as some feel he is more of a slasher, but this is a very positive development for a team that needs someone at the 3 who will be a fixture, as well as improved 3-point shooting.
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Okoro could be lacking defensively when it comes to some matchups against bigger and taller players, but his 2.0 defensive box plus/minus this season seems to indicate some solid defensive production.
The Cavs will have a tough slate of games coming up, starting with a road contest against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday and continuing with the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, and New York Knicks.
If Okoro continues to play well at both ends of the floor and helps his team win at least two of these games, perhaps he can hold onto the starting spot he regained nearly two weeks ago.