Auburn Basketball: Projecting Isaac Okoro’s role on the Cleveland Cavaliers

Auburn Basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Auburn Basketball (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Former Auburn basketball star Isaac Okoro is Cleveland-bound after being selected with the #5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft last night. What will his role be on the Cavaliers?

The 2020 NBA Draft has come and gone, and for Auburn Basketball fans, there is really only one reason to have been excited at all.

To be fair, Isaac Okoro is quite the reason.

The man they call “Ice” was selected with the #5 pick in the NBA Draft, and he is headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now, for those that are unfamiliar with the professional game, just know this isn’t the absolute best landing spot for Okoro based on organizational structure. Dan Gilbert lucked out drafting LeBron James with the #1 pick in 2003, and lucked out even harder when James decided to return to Cleveland in 2014.

If it wasn’t for the “king” bringing a title to the ‘Land, this franchise would be just as much of a laughingstock as the New York Knicks or the Sacramento Kings. Luckily he happened to be born in Northeast Ohio and possessed loyalty Gilbert didn’t deserve.

Okoro does not have “king”-like expectations, but he is the highest-upside lottery pick the team has had since Kyrie Irving nine years ago. He’ll be joining recent draftees Colin Sexton (2018) and Darius Garland (2019) in a lineup that also features two former All-NBA big men in Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.

The presence of those two plus the potential resigning of Tristan Thompson could complicate the pecking order in Cleveland. While it would make sense for a team with no championship ambitions to put the ball in the hands of their youthful Sexton-Garland-Okoro trio, having Love and Drummond’s gargantuan contracts makes it hard to justify not feeding the bigs.

So you may see a few too many Love post-ups and far too many post-ups from Drummond in 2020-21, but Okoro will be the team’s starting small forward and will have a chance to be one of the brightest young stars under 20.

Hopefully, the Cavs can build their franchise around “Ice”, so the War Eagle can continue to enjoy Okoro’s professional journey beyond his incredible tenure on the Auburn basketball team, where he led the team to the 2019 Final Four.

We wish you luck, and for the love of all things sacred, treat him well Gilbert.

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