Auburn small forward Isaac Okoro said playing for a defensive-minded coach in Tom Thibodeau would be “a great opportunity,” but doesn’t see himself lasting to the eighth pick in the Nov. 18 NBA Draft.
The Post has reported Okoro is being given strong consideration by the Knicks at No. 8. Okoro, arguably the draft’s top defender, actually believes he can be the top pick.
On the Knicks, Okoro told Forbes, “I know the Knicks have a great organization, they have a lot of young players right now. Possibly playing with the Knicks would be a great opportunity for me. I know that I could come into the team and play a role that the coach needs me to play. I know that they have a new coach in Tom Thibodeau and he’s a very defensive-minded coach. I feel like me coming, it would be a great opportunity.”
The Knicks have made point guard a priority in the draft but also know they need help at small forward. However, Okoro is not considered a good perimeter shooter – and that is a Knicks weakness.
Okoro cancelled two Zoom interviews with reporters last week during the virtual Draft Combine availabilities.
“Yes, I feel I should be the No. 1 pick because I go out every game and I compete and I give 100 percent effort,” Okoro told Forbes. “I’m just willing to do whatever any coaches want me to do, so I feel like me bringing a winning culture, I should be the No. 1 pick.”
Okoro averaged 12.9 points, two assists and 4.4 rebounds and was SEC All-Defense and second-team All-SEC.
Back in the spring, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl told The Post, “They’ve done their homework on him. I didn’t get a read on it, but they’ve done their due diligence.”
ESPN’s basketball maven Seth Greenberg compared Okoro to Boston’s Jaylen Brown and told The Post, “He’s a winner. He probably could defend 1-to-4 without an issue. He’s physically strong.”
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