Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Draft: 3 reasons Isaac Okoro was the right pick

NBA Draft prospect Isaac Okoro (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
NBA Draft prospect Isaac Okoro (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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NBA Draft
NBA Draft prospect Isaac Okoro (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Isaac Okoro’s defensive potential sets him up as a Cleveland Cavaliers centerpiece for years to come.

The Cleveland Cavaliers‘ 2020 first-round NBA draft pick Isaac Okoro is in line for a productive rookie season. This season was the Cavaliers’ third-straight year drafting in the lottery (they acquired the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick in the Kyrie Irving trade).

It was also the third straight year the lottery balls didn’t fall in their favor. Having failed to make the playoffs in the two seasons following LeBron James’ departure, the Cavaliers haven’t maintained their lottery luck of the pre-return years. In the past three drafts, they’ve drafted eighth, fifth, and fifth again this year.

That being said, the Cavaliers have done a good job of roster construction since losing James – including making some solid draft selections. In 2018, they drafted Collin Sexton out of Alabama. Sexton was overlooked in a draft class that included the likes of Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Deandre Ayton but he has exceeded expectations since entering the league.

Sexton, the “Young Bull,” was touted for his defense and hustle as a prospect. His 3-point shot was a concern entering the league but he is making 39 percent of his 3’s as a pro. His 20.8 points-per-game this season ranked him 23rd overall among scorers.

Last year’s draft was also a good one for the Cavaliers. They surprised fans by picking another point guard, Darius Garland out of Vanderbilt, fifth overall. The Cavaliers have maintained that Portland’s smaller backcourt pair of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is the inspiration for pairing Sexton and Garland. They also drafted Kevin Porter Jr. 30th overall and many fellow rookies called this the steal of the draft.

This year, the Cavaliers made an excellent selection at pick No. 5 with Isaac Okoro out of Auburn. The 6-foot-6 small forward was a tremendous defender in college and his defensive prowess should allow for a seamless transition to the pro game. His offense has room for improvement as he shot 29 percent from 3 in his one year at college. Cavaliers fans can hope that Okoro has a similar career arc to guys like Danny Green, Robert Covington, and Marcus Smart who started out as consistent wing defenders and blossomed into elite 3-and-D players.