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Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro looking to become a better playmaker

Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro looking to become a better playmaker

Coming off his solid rookie campaign, Isaac Okoro, the Cleveland Cavalier wing, is looking to improve his offensive game this offseason. Towards the end of his rookie season, Okoro’s offensive ability began to shine. In particular, his playmaking took a huge step forward.

Building off this, Cleveland has put Okoro in a playmaking role in the NBA Summer League. Okoro is handling the ball more, leading to more playmaking situations. For instance, Okoro is now a lot more involved in pick and roll situations. Overall, he is one of the orchestrators of the Cavs’ Summer League offense.

Newly-Found Role

In the 2020 NBA Draft, Okoro was highly-regarded mainly due to his defensive upside. Coming off several horrendous defensive seasons, the Cavs needed to address their defense. For Cleveland, selecting Okoro just made a lot of sense in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Most were aware Okoro’s offense was a work in progress. Not many expected huge offensive contributions from the rookie wing last season. In his rookie year, Okoro had decent offensive averages of 9.6 points, 42% from the field and 29% from three.

As the season progressed, Okoro’s offensive game bloomed. In the last 12 games of the 2020-21 season, Okoro averaged over 16 points per game while shooting 41.7% and 26.7% from three. Okoro wasn’t very efficient, especially from three, during this stretch but it was important for his development. Okoro became a lot more aggressive at the end of the year, looking for and creating his own shot at times. This could have built Okoro’s confidence on offense.

This end of the year stretch proved Okoro has a good chance to be a good offensive player in the NBA. He has the ability to be a difference maker in terms of playmaking. This is exactly why the Cavs are focusing on Okoro’s playmaking during the 2021 Summer League.

Building Off Summer League

In Cleveland’s first Summer League game against the Houston Rockets, Okoro took on a ball handling guard role. This put him in the position to prove his playmaking ability. On several occasions, Okoro’s driving ability was on full display. He had several impressive finishes at the rim. Also, Okoro had a handful of thunderous dunks. One dunk in particular showcased his athleticism. Okoro utilized a pick via Mfiondu Kabengele, drove down hill and gathered the ball and suddenly threw down a monster dunk.

Last season, at times Okoro proved he could be an explosive slasher. The area where Okoro has been heavily criticized is his jump shot. In his first Summer League game, Okoro shot 2/6 from three. While this is only 33.3%, it is still an improvement compared his career average of 29% from three. Overall, Okoro’s first Summer League showing was solid with 17 points, shooting 7/13 from the field.

Okoro will need to keep taking advantage of his Summer League opportunity. Since Okoro is handling the ball so much, his offensive development could make a big jump going into next season. Cleveland’s offense could improve dramatically with an improved Okoro. There is a real possibility Okoro could make a second year jump similar to Darius Garland’s sophomore season. To make this progress, the first step is performing in the Summer League. Okoro and the Cavs have their second Summer League game Wednesday at 6 PM versus the Orlando Magic.

 

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