Central Notes: Okoro, Bogdanovic, Pistons, LaVine, DeRozan

Isaac Okoro‘s stint as a starter for the Cavaliers in the absence of Darius Garland was short-lived. After starting the team’s second and third games of the season, Okoro was moved back to the bench for games four and five, with Dean Wade joining Caris LeVert, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley in the starting five.

Given that the Cavaliers spent much of last season starting three big men, Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link) wonders if the team could go back to that look even after Garland returns, keeping Wade in the starting five in place of LeVert. However, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) said he wouldn’t count on that, even before LeVert went off for 41 points in Boston on Friday night.

Okoro’s role, meanwhile, will be worth keeping an eye on. The former fifth overall pick has struggled so far this season, recording more fouls (11) than points (8). He played just five minutes in the Cavaliers’ dramatic overtime win in Boston on Friday.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Pistons are tied for last place in the East with a 1-5 record, but they’ve gotten all they hoped for so far from Bojan Bogdanovic, who has been a leader both on and off the court, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The veteran forward is averaging a team-high 23.0 PPG with a scorching-hot .517/.511/.923 shooting line through six games.“He’s very knowledgable about the game, and he shares his knowledge,” Cade Cunningham said of his new teammate. “He doesn’t hold it to himself. He makes sure that all of us are on the same page. He talks to us a lot. It’s fun to play with a guy like that, one who has a high IQ and cares about winning.”
  • Sopan Deb of The New York Times takes a broad look at the Pistons‘ rebuilding process, or what general manager Troy Weaver calls a “restoration.” As Deb writes, the team is laying promising groundwork, but still has a ways to go before becoming a contender. “Every morning, you want to drink a cup of urgency, and at night you want to drink a cup of patience,” Weaver said. “You’ve got to let it organically happen. And I think a lot of teams, they shortcut the process. They get impatient with process. We won’t do that.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine missed his third game of the season on Friday due to “management” of his surgically repaired left knee, but intends to play on Saturday, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. As Cowley relays, head coach Billy Donovan said on Friday that Chicago’s medical staff seems to be getting a better grasp of LaVine’s situation and how to handle it.
  • The Bulls‘ loss to San Antonio on Friday was a disappointing one, but DeMar DeRozan reached an impressive milestone in the game, recording his 20,000th career point, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
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