Isaac Okoro gives Cavaliers another chance to turn page
The first time LeBron James left, the Cavaliers let their culture become a mess. Eager to rebuild after his second departure, Cleveland is trying to avoid repeating that mistake.
The Cavs drafting Isaac Okoro No. 5 resembles them drafting Collin Sexton two years ago.
Both are good prospects with work ethics so great, Cleveland overlooked other flaws. No. 5 is higher than I would have made the bet on Okoro, but it’s reasonable. Okoro has at least looked good in the preseason.
The Cavs also traded for JaVale McGee, who has somewhat shed his reputation for being an airhead. Now he’s three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee. McGee will replace Tristan Thompson, who left for the Celtics, in the Cavaliers’ rotation. Perhaps more importantly, they got a second-round pick from the Lakers for taking McGee.
Cleveland got a second-rounder from the Jazz for taking Rayjon Tucker in another trade. As they showed during their between-LeBron era, the Cavs are pretty good at accumulating assets while losing.
Damyean Dotson ($2 million salary with a $2 million the following season) was a sound signing, too. The former Knicks guard can play.
But these are low-impact moves besides drafting Okoro.
While finishing with the NBA’s second-worst record, the Cavaliers probably hoped to land a better prospect. But they fell a 2020-high three slots in the lottery.
That’s a normal break, though. Cleveland was only 52-48 to draw a higher pick.
The long process of escaping LeBron’s shadow continues, still slowly.