Isaac Okoro Deserves Less Hate

Isaac Okoro Deserves Less Hate

Drew Thirion
3 years ago
2 min read
Isaac Okoro Deserves Less Hate

Isaac Okoro is an interesting player on a surprising Cavaliers team. He’s already very gifted on the defensive side of the ball, but his offense still has room for growth. His shot is very inconsistent for a starting two-guard, and it’s caused many Cleveland fans to write him off before he’s reached his full potential.

But before we write Okoro into all of our fake trades, let’s pump the brakes just a little bit. As a college student, I always find it very weird when a player is younger than me, so when I see 2001 next to Isaac’s name, it always makes me slow down a bit. 

Over the course of this Cavs three-game win streak, we’ve started to see glimpses of Okoro that resembled the end of last year. He’s shooting 69% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. If he can become a consistent threat on the offensive side of things, this Cavs offense could be deadly. Most teams just throw their worst defender on Okoro and roam around to help everyone else out. If he’s an actual threat, this opens up the paint even more for the Tower City Trio (I’d like to trademark that). 

Another thing people seem to forget is that Okoro was dealing with a hamstring injury at the beginning of the season. Most of Isaac’s game revolves around using his athleticism to get in the paint, and if he had any nagging effects from his hamstring injury, that could take away the biggest component of his offense.

But enough with his offense, let’s get into why Isaac Okoro is a starter. On a nightly basis, opposing team’s star players are pestered by the scrappy defense of Okoro. When he’s off the floor, the Cavs have a net rating of +2.4, but when he’s out there that climbs up to +4.5. Not only that, but when he’s paired with Evan Mobley, the Cavs defensive rating is 10 points better than any other two-man lineup in Cleveland.

A lot of Okoro’s game doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but every team needs that “glue guy”, who can out-hustle everyone on the court, and I think the Cavs have finally found that. Don’t write off Okoro just yet, not many 20-year-olds are making this big of an impact in the NBA. If his offense continues to make impressive strides forward, the rest of the league needs to be on high alert. If he plateaus, then Cleveland still has a lockdown defender for years to come. Whatever the case, I’m all in on Okoro, and I think it’s time he gets some well-earned praise.

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