Detroit Pistons: The final case for drafting Isaac Okoro

Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

First in a series

The NBA Draft is coming up on Wednesday. It is time to take a final look at the top prospects, and how they would fit with the Detroit Pistons. First case to be made: Auburn guard Isaac Okoro.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Okoro in mock drafts has usually gone anywhere from fifth to 10th. With the Detroit Pistons holding (barring any trades) the No. 7 overall pick, he is definitely someone they will be considering.

Okoro also worked out for the Golden State Warriors, who hold the No. 2 selection. That might be a bit high for the former All-SEC second team member, but you never know with the Warriors. A few years ago they took a gamble at No. 7 on Steph Curry, that kind of worked out for them.

Okoro is a solidly-built but extremely athletic small forward. He averaged 12.9 points a game in his only season with Auburn. His offensive game might not stand out, as of yet, but, defensively, he is thought to have the chops to immediately contribute.

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Here are the reasons for, and against, the Pistons drafting Okoro:

Final case made: Why Detroit should draft Isaac Okoro

With so many gaps to fill, Detroit is looking for someone that coach Dwane Casey can put on the floor immediately and contribute. Okoro can do that, thanks to his defensive skills.

WIth the strength that comes with his 225-pound frame, combined with great quickness, Okoro can play the other small forwards in the NBA tough from the opening game.

With his speed and size, Okoro is also going to be force on the offensive end, driving to the basket. There are many plays that Casey could draw to open things up for Okoro on drives.

Okoro’s outside shooting is certainly a work in progress. Of course, another defensive-oriented small forward named Kawhi Leonard was not much of a shooter coming out of college. He learned to shoot pretty well, eventually.

We are NOT saying Okoro is the next Kawhi. Just pointing out that a player can improve his shooting as time goes on.

Okoro does not turn 20-years-old until January, so he is not a finished product. While the shooting prowess may come later in his career, Okoro can play day one thanks to his defense, and ability to drive hard to the basket on offense.

Final arguments: The case against drafting Okoro

Isaac Okoro brings a lot to the table, with one exception: He can not shoot!

He shot 28.6% from beyond the three point arc in college. Okoro’s spot up shooting was not that great even inside the three-point line.

He is a ‘get out of his way’ type when he drives hard to the basket. However, that is basically the only move that worked for him in college.

Can Okoro still manage to drive successfully against older, stronger NBA players? Maybe, but do you use the seventh overall pick on a maybe?

Unless your name is Ben Simmons, every NBA player who is not a center is expected to be a decent outside shooter in today’s game. To have a player opposing defenses can play off can wreck a team’s scoring ability.

Okoro says he is working on improving his jump shot. Since Okoro is only 19, it is hardly a lost cause.

Defensively, he is one of the standouts in the draft. But, again, you do not take a player at No. 7 to be a defensive specialist.

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If the Pistons think Okoro will eventually develop a sold jump shot that defense’s will respect, they can roll the dice and grab him. However, like almost everyone in this draft, Okoro is not a sure thing.