Report: Cavs ‘hopeful’ Isaac Okoro can return for regular season finale vs. Hornets

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A new report indicates that the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping that small forward Isaac Okoro will be able to play in the team’s regular season finale on Sunday.

Sam Amico of noted that the Cavaliers would like to see Okoro simply get back into game action as the team gets set to compete in the postseason.

“Sources told Hoops Wire the Cavs are hopeful he can play in Sunday’s regular-season finale vs. the Hornets, if even briefly, but that is very much up in the air,” wrote Amico.

Okoro, who was taken by the Cavaliers with the fifth overall selection of the 2020 NBA Draft, has been dealing with knee soreness and will miss his fourth straight game on Tuesday night.

During Okoro’s first two seasons with the Cavaliers, he was used primarily in the starting lineup. That changed for the first few months of this season when he was used off the bench before being returned to his previous role as a starter.

That shift came after Okoro’s offensive numbers dipped, a change that might have alarmed fans and outside observers. However, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff indicated that he remained fully behind Okoro.

Okoro’s career numbers on offense won’t grab anyone’s attention, but he has shown himself to be an asset in other areas of the game. He’s been able to deliver solid contributions on defense, a role that becomes more valuable during the postseason.

Yet Okoro is capable of making big plays on offense, most notably last month in a last-second win over the Brooklyn Nets. With the Cavaliers trailing in the closing seconds, Okoro launched a 3-pointer that connected and led to him enthusiastically noting it on social media.

Besides the support of Bickerstaff and presumably his teammates, Okoro has shown enough potential in his three NBA seasons to be the recipient of some highly positive comparisons. One indicated that his current path could be similar to the ones traveled by Jimmy Butler, Marcus Smart and Andre Iguodala.

If Okoro is able to return on Sunday, he’ll be able to do it in a no-pressure situation, something he won’t be able to enjoy once the postseason begins.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.