Isaac Okoro is having a preseason to remember as he outduels fellow Cleveland Cavaliers on his quest to earn the starting small forward job.
Isaac Okoro has had a deceptively good preseason. The young Cavs wing player is coming into his third season in the NBA and as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Okoro has developed a reputation that is two-fold. One that has him as an exceptionally skilled defender, someone who can give the best guards in the league fits. He’s also proven to be wildly inconsistent as a shooter, with most of his value as an offensive player coming in transition.
Yet, this preseason has seen Okoro go off over the last two games. The Cavs played four preseason games, two of which saw Okoro as a role player and two as a starter. Shockingly he did much better with more touches.
Okoro’s numbers as a starter are vastly improved than as a reserve. As a reserve, he only played 18.2 minutes, shot 37.5% from the floor, didn’t hit a single three-pointer, and didn’t impact the team defensively all that much. As a starter, however, he played 28.6 minutes, shot 81.3% from the floor, 60% from three, and had more assists, but fewer rebounds.
But is it real?
Don’t buy what the Isaac Okoro preseason numbers are selling
During Okoro’s time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s proven to be anything from a streaky shooter to a downright bad one. Basketball is a bit different from other sports, if you can hit a jumper regularly against scrubs, you can probably do it against the elite. It’s whether or not you can hit that jumper consistently that bothers players usually.
Okoro has perpetually shown to struggle to hit his shot regularly. In some games he does shoot very well, but then he goes on some frigid stretches where he’s hitting 1-10. Okoro has to be a good three-point shooter to fit in this Cavs offense and historically, recent history notwithstanding, he hasn’t shown that.
Now guys can get better over time. The only questions are; how much better can Okoro get, how long will it take to happen, and was his performance over the last two games for real or just preseason hype?
Only time will tell but if I were a betting man (and I’m not), I would advise betting against Okoro blossoming this season.