CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Nov. 16, 2020.
Over the course of the past two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have possessed the worst defense in the NBA. On Wednesday, they did their best to remedy that, selecting Auburn forward Isaac Okoro with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Considered arguably the top defensive player in this year's draft, the 19-year-old Okoro should fill an instant need for a Cleveland team that has struggled to stop opponents from scoring in each of the past two seasons. In each of the last two years, the Cavs have ranked last in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 1.121 points per 100 possessions during the 2019-20 season.
Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Okoro averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 28 games during his lone season at Auburn. According to ESPN's Mike Schmitz, the 2020 All-SEC second-team selection possesses All-NBA Defensive team potential thanks to his "excellent lateral quickness, high intensity level and sound technique."
On the offensive end of the floor, Okoro remains a work in progress, as he connected on just .286 percent of his 3-point attempts at Auburn. Speaking to ESPN during the telecast of Wednesday night's draft, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said that Okoro's work ethic will aid him in improving on the offensive side of the floor.
“If he develops a jump shot, he’ll be an NBA All-Star,” Pearl said.
In Cleveland, Okoro could find immediate playing time a roster that lacks wings depth. Currently, Cedi Osman, Kevin Porter Jr. and Alfonzo McKinnie are the only Cavs swingmen set to return who saw significant playing time last season.