NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Kentucky

The Cleveland Cavaliers have selected Isaac Okoro with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Okoro, a top prospect from Atlanta, eschewed college basketball's traditional powers to play for Bruce Pearl at Auburn. In his lone season as a Tiger, Okoro earned Second Team All-SEC honors and made the SEC All-Defensive Team. Now, he's turned his excellent freshman season into a top selection in the NBA Draft. 

Okoro's defense is his calling card. At 6-foot-6 with a 6-9 wingspan, he should be able to guard multiple positions, and that athleticism will serve him well on the offensive end of the floor as well, where his passing and finishing ability stand out for a player of his size. That is a rare combination of skills that fits well in the modern game, but the biggest question about Okoro's future is perhaps the single most important skill in the current NBA. 

Okoro shot only 28.6 percent from behind the arc last season. College numbers aren't always indicative of future success, but he also made only 67.2% of his free throws, suggesting that his shooting issues run deeper than just range. It takes a truly special defender to survive without a jump shot in 2020. Maybe Okoro can be that defender, but more likely, his path to sustained success will necessitate improvement on that front. He doesn't have to be Ray Allen, but he can't be Tony Allen either. 

In Cleveland, he joins a roster sorely in need of his specific skill set. The Cavaliers had the NBA's worst defense last season, and their guards aren't exactly known for their playmaking. After investing two straight lottery picks on the backcourt and with Kevin Love, Andre Drummond and Larry Nance left up front, the Cavs needed a defensive-minded wing. Now, they have one. 

Draft Grade: B+

This is not what I would have done with this pick, but I understand it. He's a tremendous prospect, especially what he can do on the defensive end. He also has great maturity and instincts. If he develops a reliable jump shot -- a big if right now -- he's going to be great. -- Gary Parrish