Auburn’s Issac Okoro is one of the best wings in the draft and will very likely be gone before the Milwaukee Bucks are on the clock around the 18th overall selection. Regardless, let’s take a deeper dive into his game and see what he has to offer.
Per Game Stats:
Isaac Okoro is very similar to an iceberg; what you see on film is just the beginning of his development and there’s likely a lot more under the surface that will reveal itself in time. He can do a little bit of everything including finishing around the rim, finding open teammates and locking down his man on defense. However, he’ll need to get more consistent in every area if he wants to live up to the hype he built during his freshman season at Auburn.
Finishing: Okoro is a beast at finishing around the basket, and has multiple weapons in his arsenal. First, there’s the pure power he possesses. He has great strength and leaping ability to finish through contact and yam on someone’s head. Second, he showed some finesse when the time called, avoiding defenders in the lane and finishing with a crafty layup. Last, he can score with either hand around the basket, making it difficult for defenders to determine the angle the ball will come from.
Offensive Rebounding: He’s one of the best offensive rebounders I’ve scouted so far, regardless of position. He has a high motor and it certainly shows up here, as he always gravitates toward the rim when a shot goes up. He has a great vertical leap on two feet and an equally impressive second jump. This allows him to pogo stick with the bigs and often come down with the ball (but not for long) and two points off a missed shot.
Individual Defense: His greatest strength, Okoro is a nightmare for ball-handlers. He has endless energy and takes his defensive stopper role very seriously. Although it sometimes resulted in foul trouble, he harasses defenders on the perimeter, making them feel intense pressure. He can slide with the best of them and takes great angles on drives when cutting his man off. He needs to work on keeping his hands out wide, as he defaults to putting them on the dribblers waist, resulting in unnecessary foul calls.
Outside Shooting: Okoro shot just 28.6 percent from downtown and 67.4 percent from the charity stripe during his lone season at Auburn. That doesn’t bode well for his future as a three-point shooter—even an average one. He has a lot of kinks to work out in his shot, especially when he’s shooting under pressure. Hopefully, time will improve his consistency, but it’s difficult to imagine him as anything more than a below-average shooter.
Out of Control: His high motor sometimes gets him in trouble at both ends of the floor. Defensively, he has a tendency to foul on the most basic plays; putting his playing time in jeopardy. He also runs into a lot of charges with his head down or simply loses control of the ball on drives. He’ll have to be better at picking his spots in the NBA and knowing when and how to attack off the bounce.
- Very reactive player—falls for ball fakes
- Competes hard on defense
- Potential as an off-ball slasher on offense
- Good in transition—strong, fast and explosive
- Can be a good decision maker with the ball in his hands, but had lots of questionable moments
Okoro enters the draft with an NBA ready body. At 6’6” and 225 pounds, he already has the athleticism (vertical leap and lateral quickness) as well as the strength to compete with the best athletes in the world.
His individual defense will also help him get on the court right away as a rookie. He’s a demon who can lock down ball-handlers in isolation situations and force them into mistake after mistake. He slides his feet very well for someone his size and takes great angles when defending quicker players. He should be able to defend three positions (2s, 3s and 4s) right away with the potential to temporarily switch onto a fourth (1s).
After those two skills, however, it’s difficult to see where he’d immediately contribute next season.
His finishing was excellent in college, as he made an impressive 64 percent of his shots around the rim. He does a great job of using his power to absorb contact and sometimes relying on craft to score when necessary.
How he gets to the rim on a regular basis is the biggest question. He doesn’t have the ball-handling to create his own shot. He puts his head down more than he should and his straight line drives often result in him barreling through a defender. His best chance is off a ball-reversal when the defense is moving and recovering to his position.
His biggest question mark on offense is how he’ll make an impact when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. He’s given defenses no reason to respect his game behind the arc so he’ll have to become an adequate slasher. He has all the right tools and just needs to improve his feel a bit more to make it happen.
His passing is also all over the place. At times, he has a tremendous feel; quickly making decisions and hitting his teammates on time and on target. On other occasions, he throws the ball to where a teammate should be instead of where they are—resulting in souvenirs for the fans.
Okoro’s ceiling is high enough that it could take him inside the top five; if everything pans out for him he’ll be a great defensive stopper with an average offensive game. At worst, he’ll be drafted in the 10-15 range; much too high for the Bucks.