First Year Focus: Collin Sexton
This column will examine one standout rookie performer each week, whether it be a contender for Rookie of the Year or a first year player maximizing their limited minutes and proving to be worthy of a greater role. Apologies in advance, but Ben Simmons will not be featured.
After the first year point guard was subjected to criticism by anonymous Cavalier veterans during an atrocious 2-13 start to the season, Collin Sexton has responded by playing at a higher level than any of his teammates. During his five games so far as a starter, Sexton has fulfilled the potential he flashed at the University of Alabama that led to him being selected number eight overall in last year’s draft.
One of the most promising parts of the start of his inaugural season is that Sexton’s outside shot has looked better than expected in limited quantities thus far, with the rookie point guard hitting 12 of his first 23 three point attempts to start the campaign. Beyond the jumper, Sexton has, as expected, shown the ability to get to the rim seemingly at will. He has thrived at attacking the basket in both the half court and in transition. These skills have led to Sexton posting 13 points a night, fourth among this year’s crop of rookies, on 45% shooting. His scoring total is rising since he became a starter, with Sexton tallying at least 16 points in each of his five starts.
He could use his length and quickness to make a defensive impact, but so far he’s only tallied seven steals and has contributed to the Cavs terrible defense by being a weakness at the point of attack. Sexton’s assist numbers are also way too low for a starting point guard, although the Cavaliers decrepit roster hasn’t helped. Sexton is still very much a score first guard, and defenses still don’t respect his jump shot enough for the court to fully open up for him. Like many rookie point guards,Sexton sometimes goes too fast for his own good, which has resulted in him averaging about as many turnovers as assists so far this season.
Sexton will be one of the few players to key in on when watching the Cavs this year, as he figures to be a central figure in Cleveland’s rebuilding effort. Kevin Love’s eventual return should give him a pick and pop partner that helps to bolster his assist totals, and a scoring average over double figures feels sustainable for Sexton for the rest of the year. Defensively, he has a ton of potential and the type of attitude and length that should translate to improvement on the less glamorous end. Since nearly the rest of the Cavaliers roster feels expendable right now (shoutout my boy Cedi Osman) Sexton’s development will be vital to Cleveland having a positive takeaway from what appears to be a lost season.
All stats via basketballreference.com