The Cavs took Isaac Okoro fifth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft but the rookie believes he should’ve been taken first overall.
Isaac Okoro was the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and at times has looked really good on both sides of the court. He’s also looked absolutely unplayable at times too. The fifth pick in the draft is currently shooting 40.8% from the floor, 28.6% from three, 68.6% from the free-throw line, and what shots he does make, are mostly coming from inside the paint.
On the year he’s only averaging 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. At one point the Cavs were first in points against, they’re now 6th and are among the worst in the league, 20th, in field goal percentage against. Okoro isn’t having an impact on the offensive or defensive side of the court.
The Cavs haven’t stopped anyone of talent in the backcourt in weeks. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George dropped 60 on the Cavs. LeBron James, who Okoro guarded, went off for 46. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown of the Celtics went for 54. Okoro guarded all of those men.
Now, this is the part where you yell “He’S oNlY a RoOkIe!”, to which I say, “so why play him then?” If he can’t lock down the best players in the league, then he has literally, nothing of value to offer. He’s making the offense less than one-dimensional, as he doesn’t pass, can’t shoot and unless he’s in transition won’t score. Defensively the Cavs are getting burned by guys named “Quickley” and whatever defensive impact he has had is gone.
You can argue that most of the defensive woes come from Collin Sexton and Darius Garland and yeah, that’s fair. It all brings us back to the same argument though; the Cavs needed better than Okoro. That’s not to say that the Cavs shouldn’t have taken the young-defender, but fifth overall? FIFTH!?
"“Yeah. I did make that case,” Okoro said. “Feel like coming in I’ve had a great impact. Growing up, I’ve always had an impact, always been a winner, and feel like I’ve always done little things to help a team win. Rebounding, getting on the floor, guarding the best players like I do right now.”"
Oh boy. Ok, no.
According to fivethirtyeight.com, Okoro is among the five worst offensive and defensive guards in the league, racking up a -3.7 offensive score, and a -2.7 defensive score. The only guards worse offensively and defensively are Coby White, Lonnie Walker, Luke Kennard, and Bryn Forbes. More so, Okoro has been so bad defensively, he’s in James Harden (-3.5) territory. When you’re in the same category as D’Angelo Russell (-4.7) and Lou Williams (-4.6) defensively, you’re bad.
Okoro is 14th among rookies in defensive metrics, he’s 12th in scoring, 38th in three-point shooting (one above Obi Toppin), and 32nd in field goal percentages. For PER he’s 28th. By every metric, Okoro has been bad. He can’t stop elite scorers, and he can’t even put up enough points to justify being in the rotation.
Okoro might turn into something it’s very possible, but as of today, he is far from the best rookie in this draft class and due to Dylan Windler (14th in PER) missing last year, Okoro isn’t even the best rookie on the team.