After a four-year absence, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finally back in the NBA playoffs, and they will face a tough New York Knicks team in the first round.
The Cavs’ weakest position all season long has been the wing or small forward spot, but over the second half of the schedule, Isaac Okoro emerged as the preferred starter there for head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Unfortunately, Okoro has been dealing with a knee ailment, and insider Chris Fedor has reported that he is questionable to play in Game 1 versus New York.
#Cavs Isaac Okoro (knee soreness) is listed as QUESTIONABLE for tomorrow night’s Game 1 against the Knicks. Just as expected.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) April 14, 2023
Okoro was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and although he struggled as a rookie, he showed some improvement last season, shooting 48.0 percent overall and 35.0 percent from 3-point range.
This season, his 3-point shooting was poor early on, but he made 44.1 percent of his treys after the calendar turned over to 2023.
Okoro isn’t a high-volume 3-point shooter, but his ability to drive the ball into the paint has helped set up such shots for him and vice versa.
Against the Knicks, he will likely be tasked with guarding RJ Barrett, their emerging fourth-year wing.
Other than Okoro’s knee ailment, a big negative for Cleveland is their inability to win on the road.
They went 20-21 away from Northeast Ohio this season, while the Knicks were 24-17 in games not played at Madison Square Garden.
The Cavs may need to take both of the first two games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in order to win the series, otherwise the Knicks will be able to pressure them in front of a raucous Garden crowd.