Collin Sexton‘s season-ending surgery has thrust Isaac Okoro into the spotlight for the Cavaliers, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
The 20-year-old Okoro has had a terrible start to the season shooting the ball, with a slash line of .369/.176/.720 through 11 games. The team doesn’t expect Okoro to replicate Sexton’s offensive output; it’s not why they drafted him, and it’s not what he hangs his hat on, writes Fedor. The second-year wing is an athletic, defense-oriented hustle player who’s a good finisher in transition.
Coach J.B Bickerstaff says the Cavs aren’t concerned with Okoro’s poor shooting yet, but they need him to stay aggressive and make the right plays on offense to keep opposing defenses honest.
“Not yet is there a level of concern,” Bickerstaff said. “We have to figure out how to help him. How do we put him in positions to be successful and what does he need to do to help this team? That’s the most important thing. We all need to make open shots. I think we have had open shots out there that we can knock down. But each guy has a different role. He has to make himself more difficult to guard. That’s something that we have been talking to him about. He is a really good mover, he’s a really good runner, he can catch and finish at the rim, he’s a good offensive rebounder. We have to get him to do more of those things. He just needs to impact the game the way he impacts the game. We don’t need him to score 20 points a night. We need to help this team win.”
The Cavs have lost four straight games and sit at 9-9. They’ve dealt with several injuries and illnesses to key players, including Okoro, who was sidelined for seven games with a strained hamstring.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- Pacers center Myles Turner recently spoke about what went wrong under former coach Nate Bjorkgren last season, writes Matthew VanTryon of the Indianapolis Star. “Being a first-year head coach, there’s a lot of ego that comes with that. You have a lot of this, ‘I know what I’m doing. I got this.’ But in a sense, you don’t always know exactly what you’re doing. You have to accept that,” Turner said on the Noble and Roosh Show. “He kind of tried to accept that later in the year, but throughout the year, he wouldn’t let go of that ego in a sense. That’s one of the things that hurt him in his tenure in Indiana.” Bjorkgren was fired after his lone season in Indiana.
- Bulls guard Alex Caruso gave an interview with Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype that covers a number of topics, including his journey to the NBA, joining Chicago, his chemistry with Lonzo Ball, and more.
- Pistons veteran Rodney McGruder is still popular in Miami, even as an opponent, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra isn’t surprised that Pistons coach Dwane Casey relies on McGruder for veteran leadership. “I don’t find it surprising at all, that Coach Casey has turned to him, because of that experience, because of his grit, toughness,” Spoelstra said. “He screams reliability and that plays well in this league.”
10 thoughts on “Central Notes: Okoro, Turner, Bjorkgren, Caruso, McGruder”
Okoro will never be great shooter, but if he can become at least lesser Jimmy Butler-type player he will be successful.
On a positive note, his stats so far reflect the fact that he has played only 11 of the Cavs 18 games, and he even went 3 of 7 on 3 pointers against the Nets yesterday. Plus, it kind of seems like everyone in this league has gotten off to a poor shooting start this season.
Well, unless your name is Demar Derozan and Zach LaVine, except for their last game, they’ve both been seemingly lighting it up every night!!
I’ll never be an Okoro fan. 7th or 8th guy off the bench as a defensive replacement. They should make a move for someone under contract like CJ or Buddy. Use Kevin Loves contract and an unprotected 1st. Those guys are on multi year deals. Brogdon cant be traded tho until next season, which would have been a good target.
Buddy and Barnes for Love, Okoro, unprotected 1st, and two 2nds. Improve your shooting, add some veterans. Get rid of Love, and Okoro is what he is.
Considering butler is a top 10 player right now/ future hall of famer… Aim a little lower.
I’d really like them to try and find more consistent time for Cedi too. If they can unlock his potential and if he gains enough confidence that he can have a bad game and still play the next day then maybe consistency will hopefully follow. I don’t know if he can consistently shoot the 3 at 40% but with his size and athleticism I think he can be a good 18/7/3 guy and shoot somewhere around 45/36/70. His FT% needs a lot of help too. He’s a talented guy who can give you 25/6/6 one day and 5 points the next. But if we can squeeze 30 minutes per to Okorro, Cedi and Markannen between the 3/4 that would be nice. Right now he’s our best 3pt shooter at 41% on 5 attempts pg.
When does the knives come out for Rick Carlisle. It’s about this time last season that the whispers started for Nate B. Indy is prolonging the agony of its disappearing fanbase by keeping Turner and Sabonis.
They haven’t been healthy at all.
Injuries with same players as last year. Wash rinse repeat. Or better yet get a new roster or get a better GM.
CLE needs to build around the Mosley-Allen combo at the 4-5, and the identity it creates of an defensive team. Okoro can fit as a starter with them, nicely too, as a top perimeter defender vs 1-3. But no 2-3 in the NBA can survive shooting like he has (even based on last year’s percentages). He has to improve. It’s on him, not how he’s used. In any event, they need to move away from Sexton as a starting wing.
Cleveland doing things for their spacing around Okoro would help him. Certain guys should be playing more
Rodney McGruder is always going to be well liked b/c he is a winning player. He should be playing more as well. Not surprising to see Spo advocate for him. He definitely loved him here, and for good reason