Technically Isaac Okoro is the “starter”, but it isn’t a role that is “earned”. He’s only started 23 games of a possible 53 played, and he lacks certain skills that Caris LeVert does not. For starters, Okoro is a pretty rough three-point shooter, currently hitting just 33% of his shots. The Cavs need more from their small forward than one for three every night, That said, LeVert isn’t much better at hitting threes.
LeVert is hitting just 37% from three. He’s also a significantly less impactful defensive player. LeVert has a RAPTOR score of just +0.7, while Okoro has one of +1.3. Likewise, Okoro has a defensive box plus-minus of +1.7, while LeVert is just at +0.1.
Okoro’s defensive impact is obvious, but what is even more impactful is that Okoro is a better shooter than LeVert. Maybe not from everywhere on the court, but Okoro has a much higher true shooting percentage, with a .586 as opposed to LeVert’s .518.
Okoro is the better option to start, and should the Cavs make a move to get a guy like Gordon Hayward or whomever, he’d be the better option to replace LeVert on the bench as well. Okoro’s defense is his biggest selling point, but he has upside too. He’s only 22, he’s playing pretty well over the last few months, and the Cavs have more controllability over him than LeVert.