The Cleveland Cavaliers are all of a sudden one of the teams in the NBA that a lot of people are keeping an eye on.
After years of drafting smartly and adding talented veterans through free agency and trades, the Cavs finally made the final move to put the last nail in the coffin of their post-LeBron James era rebuild when they acquired star guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.
With the move, the starting lineup is populated with three All-Stars in Mitchell, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and one player who some believe has the potential to be a Hall of Famer in Evan Mobley.
That leaves just the starting small forward spot up in the air at the moment. Right now, the two players who are seen as the most likely options to fill that hole are Caris LeVert and youngster Isaac Okoro. LeVert is certainly the stronger offensive player, but Okoro is considered to be one of the best young defenders in the NBA.
However, LeVert may not have the leg up on Okoro on the offensive side of the ball for long. The Auburn University product is reportedly working “tirelessly” on his offensive game this summer.
“Thankfully, Okoro acknowledged during his exit interviews with the media that he and the Cavaliers both agreed that he needed to improve in all facets of offense, shooting included,” Evan Dammarell wrote. “Sources share with Right Down Euclid that Okoro has been working tirelessly at Auburn during the offseason on his offensive game, trying to find consistency beyond the arc prior to the start of training camp. Granted, the difference between individual workouts and actual five-on-five action that Okoro’s shooting will face is vast. But, it’s a hopeful sign of things to come this upcoming season.”
Earlier this offseason, the 21-year-old sent out a pretty direct message to the world about his summer work.
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Okoro has mostly served as a starter since he joined the Cavs as their top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He has started in all but six games that he has suited up for in his professional career.
Last season, he averaged 8.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Clearly, his offensive production could use some improvement. However, that is not to say that he hasn’t flashed potential in the past.
He had numerous double-digit scoring efforts last season, including a stretch in December when he scored double digits in six of seven games. He scored 16 or more points in four of those games.
If he can enjoy more stretches like that this season and maintain his defensive prowess, he could become a very valuable member of the Cavs lineup.
Whether or not he ends up earning that starting role remains to be seen.