Knicks Have Liked Isaac Okoro 'From the Jump' in NBA Draft, Bruce Pearl Says

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 17, 2020

Auburn's Isaac Okoro plays during an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
James Crisp/Associated Press

When the New York Knicks make their first pick in the 2020 NBA draft, one name to keep an eye on is Auburn forward Isaac Okoro. 

Speaking to's Ian Begley, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said the Knicks have "been very inquisitive" about Okoro and have liked him "from the jump."

"They've talked to strength coaches, trainers, assistant coachesthey've done their homework," Pearl added.

Okoro was the crown jewel of Auburn's 2019 recruiting class that helped the team go 25-6 during the regular season. He was named to the All-SEC second team as a freshman after averaging 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. 

Per B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, the 6'6" Okoro is the No. 11 prospect in the 2020 draft class: "He makes good decisions and competes at both ends. Efficiency, defensive toughness and versatility, and timely, winning plays will drive his NBA value."

Wasserman did note one scout said a team drafting Okoro is "betting on big gains from intangibles."

Okoro's skill set would fit in well on a Knicks team that needs help in every area of the game. They ranked in the bottom 10 of the NBA in points per game (105.8), offensive rating (106.5) and defensive rating (113.0). 

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Head coach Tom Thibodeau is entering his first season as Knicks head coach. He will be tasked with turning around an organization that has posted losing records in seven consecutive seasons and has just four playoff appearances since 2001-02. 

The Knicks currently own the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft.