Isaac Okoro deserves to start for the Cleveland Cavaliers over Lamar Stevens after his recent month of action.
We’ve reached the point of the season, my friends, where things have officially gone off the rails. As of today, I’m officially advocating for Isaac Okoro to be in the starting five going forward, until Dean Wade returns or until a trade is made.
This team can’t keep getting hammered defensively on the perimeter as they are and Lamar Stevens is not a good defender. Wherever this myth came that said Stevens is a good perimeter defender is probably from the same realm as those who push the narrative that pineapple belongs on pizza.
Because they’re both utterly wrong. Stevens has a RAPTOR grade of -0.3 on defense. Offensively, he’s fine, he’s not going to be a problem but he’s not such a scorer that you have to find reasons to get him on the court. He’s painfully replaceable on offense.
Yet, on defense, he’s actively worse than Okoro, who has a +1.3 RAPTOR grade on defense. Beyond that, and three-point percentages on the year, they’re basically identical. Okoro is an inch shorter, and their stats are pretty identical.
Neither man is so much better than the other offensively that it makes sense to prioritize that. Stevens is shooting 33% from three, but just 48% from inside the arc. Okoro is shooing just 25% from three, but 60% from inside.
Not only that, but Okoro has been much better over the last five games. He’s had games where he’s scored double-digits, and has shot 44.3% from the floor and 30% from three.
Isaac Okoro isn’t a long-term option for the Cleveland Cavaliers but he’s better than Lamar Stevens
Somebody recently said that they’re not sure JB Bickerstaff is the right man to lead the Cavs to the NBA Finals, I forgot who it was but if he thinks Stevens is a better fit than Okoro in the starting five right now, I have to seriously wonder if that person is right.
I like Bickerstaff, but Okoro is the better option, every metric says so. Common sense says so. Yes, he’s an offensive limitation to deal with but Stevens isn’t? He absolutely is.
The Cavs have to basically tap Okoro like Jean Rasczak tapped Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers. He’s the guy until he’s dead, or they find someone better. Only, not the dead part. Basically, Okoro needs to be the starter until he fails completely defensively, or until the Cavs can trade for a wing who can play better.
Go watch Starship Troopers.