NBA Draft Bio: Isaac Okoro

Isaac Okoro, the Freshman Small Forward out of Auburn, exceeded expectations during the 2019-20 season and played himself into a likely lottery draft selection. Depending on your source, he is projected to be drafted in the 6-10 slot. See below for his road to the NBA Draft, strengths and weaknesses as well as overall career outlook.

Road to the Draft

Okoro, from Atlanta, Georgia, was heavily recruited by Head Coach Bruce Pearl to attend University of Auburn, and chose the Tigers over schools like Texas, Florida and Oregon. He had a standout high school career, where he averaged 19.7 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.2 apg & 2.7 blocks in his senior year and led his team to the first undefeated season by a Georgia high school in 25 years (32-0). During his productive Freshman year for the Tigers, Okoro averaged 12.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.0 apg to go with 26 steals & 25 blocks in 28 games, and was named to the 2019-20 All-SEC Second Team, All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team. Check out some of Okoro’s best defensive highlights here.


Okoro is known for his defense, and is the best defender in the draft class. At 6'6", 225 lbs. he has an excellent combination of strength and quickness, and typically defended the opponent’s top threats - regardless of position. He has excellent lateral quickness, intensity and sound technique. He’s difficult to beat off the dribble and doesn’t get pushed around when taken down low. He plays with physicality, aggressiveness and toughness. He hustles for loose balls, which is sorely lacking in today's game. He makes winning plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet, and he made quite the impression on Head Coach Pearl:

He is the best defensive guard I think I’ve ever coached. He can guard 1-5. I’ve never had a player be able to do that. Big, strong, physical and wants to defend. He wants the opponent’s best player. And offensively, he’s just very productive.

His biggest strength on offense is his cutting, slashing and finishing ability. Because he's so athletic he can get the rim and finish through contact, with a nice touch at the hoop. 


Okoro is not known for his shooting, and he knows it. 

He obviously needs to improve his shot - which is why it's critical for the team that drafts him to work on his mechanics, ie. Raptors/OG Anunoby. It's tough to stay on the floor if you can't make open jump shots and free throws (67.2% as Freshman). Okoro will have to find that consistent jump shot if he wants to be more than just a defensive piece in his career. 

Overall Outlook

If Okoro can combine his stopper-like defense with semi-consistent jump shooting and slashes to the basket, he may have an opportunity to make a few All-Star games. Anunoby is a good early career comparable for Okoro. For both, a long-term view of Andre Iguodala and Caron Butler would be quite favorable. Okoro has the defensive skills, hustle and IQ to make All-Defensive teams in the NBA, and be a major ingredient to championship contending teams. Look for him to get snapped up early in the lottery. 

Photo Credit: John Jones/Icon Sportswire