2019-20 Stats: 12.9 PPG; 4.4 RPG; 2.0 APG; 0.9 SPG; 0.9 BPG; 51.5 FG%; 28.6 3FG%; 67.2 FT%; 58.7 True Shooting%
Isaak Okoro put together an excellent freshman season at Auburn in 2019-20. His raw athleticism, premium finishing capabilities, and plus defending all helped him become a projected first-round pick. And since the end of the season, his stock has risen even further.
Okoro is now a projected top-ten pick, with some even saying he could go in the top five. It is easy to see why. While not a perfect prospect, Okoro is certainly one of the best ones. Does he fit in the Bulls scheme in 2021? Should the Bulls even select him with the #4 pick? I’ll analyze those questions and more.
The first things that pop out in Okoro’s game are his athletic prowess and finishing ability. This play last season pretty much sums it up:
He drives to the rim. A lot. His free-throw rate, a measure for the number of free throws a player attempts in proportion to overall field goal attempts, is .551, which is above average. This exemplifies Okoro’s ability to get to the rim and draw fouls.
Okoro is also a plus-defender. While Auburn as a whole was a poor defensive team, Okoro shined on that end of the floor. He possesses the ability to stay in front of agile point guards while also guarding stretch four and power forward players. His competitiveness is there for everyone to see and he gives his all on both ends of the court.
His main weakness is his mid- and long-range shooting. He shot a dismal 28.6% from beyond the arc and Okoro — like a lot of the current draft prospects — doesn’t really have a mid-range game to speak for.
His poor three-point shooting was offset by his ability to get to the rim and finish, as evidenced by his 58.7% true shooting percentage. However, Okoro will need to improve his three-point shooting if he’s going to space the floor effectively. Not doing so will only cause defenses to collapse in the paint when he has the ball, which will neither help him nor his team.
Do the Bulls Draft Him?
I would love Okoro in a Bulls uniform. He is #2 on my board but he would be an excellent pickup. There was chatter earlier in the offseason that the Bulls may even want to trade down and pick up an asset as Okoro most likely would be on the board at picks 7-10, but that is no longer the case. If the Bulls don’t pick Okoro at 4, the Cavs will most likely pick him at 5.
Should the Bulls Draft Him?
If you ask certain Bulls writers, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Again, selecting Okoro would be a great pickup, but for me, it all depends on who is on the board when we get to the Bulls at #4.
I certainly don’t think the Bulls should trade up for Okoro, nor do I think they would. At the end of the day, Okoro is a three-guard and while he could fit well with Coby White and Zach Lavine, the Bulls are in more need of a point guard, someone who can handle the ball more often.
Does He Fit With Bulls?
Again, the Bulls do need a primary ball-handler, a role that Okoro does not fulfill. But he is a good defender who can help an already decent Bulls’ defensive corps. He has competitiveness oozing out of his skin, something that will only help the Bulls in the long run.
Schematically, there are other players that do fill a need and fit better within the Bulls system. While Auburn didn’t utilize Okoro in pick-and-roll situations that often, he does show promise playing in that type of system. However, he needs to improve his decision making, as he logged a 1.04 assist-turnover ratio last season.
In the end, I think Okoro is good enough to fit in almost any system out there and he would be a tremendous selection for the Bulls.