Cleveland Cavaliers youngster Isaac Okoro is about to begin his third season at the NBA level, and he’s hoping to take a step forward in the 2022-23 campaign.
The Cavs would surely love nothing more than to see Okoro become a great player on both ends of the floor, and for the 21-year-old, improving as a shooter is a major box to check in order to get there.
He’s aware of that and been working extremely hard at improving in that department.
“For years, I’ve been trying to get better and better at shooting,” Okoro told Cleveland.com. “Ever since I was little honestly.
“I just knew it was something I had to work on. Everybody could see it. I know I’m not a perfect player. Everybody has flaws. I’ve been working on addressing those flaws. Each year I feel like I have been getting better at shooting. We’ve been tracking it since I was drafted. I see the numbers. I see where I’m at now. It’s night and day. My arc is consistently higher. I always knew it was going to pay off sooner or later.”
Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff seems to have a lot of confidence in Okoro.
“Isaac has been fantastic,” Bickerstaff told Cleveland.com. “I think this is the year we see Isaac take steps in the right direction, showing his ability to impact winning on both sides of the floor.”
Last season, Okoro knocked down 35.0 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. It was a major improvement from his 3-point percentage from the season before, as he shot 29.0 percent from deep as a rookie.
If he can take another step forward as a shooter this season, that will open up all sorts of doors for the Cavs, especially since it’s widely known that Okoro is a major asset on the defensive end.
It sounds like people close to Okoro believe he can have a career trajectory similar to those of some notable players around the NBA.
“Those closest to him have predicted a career trajectory similar to Marcus Smart, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala or perhaps even Jaylen Brown,” Chris Fedor wrote. “That would be on the higher end of the spectrum. Perhaps unrealistic. But all those players, praised for their incredible work ethic, once had to answer the same shooting questions that have followed Okoro from college.”
Okoro is a very hard worker, and if he continues to improve, there’s no telling what his ceiling will be. He’s often overlooked during conversations about Cleveland’s young core, but it’s important to keep in mind that he’s only 21 and was drafted less than two years ago.
The Cavs are hoping to send a message to the league this season. After Cleveland surprised fans last season with a winning campaign, the team is looking to take another step in the right direction this season by earning a playoff bid.
Time will tell if Okoro and his teammates can get the job done.