Cleveland- Sunday is once again interesting for the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to the Athletic’s Joe Vardon, Cleveland Cavaliers veterans don’t think rookie Collin Sexton knows “how to play.”
This is just another thing to pile on the early season disaster that has been the 2018-2019 Cleveland Cavaliers. The report from Vardon really comes as no surprise as this has been the vibe among media members as well. In less than ten games into Sexton’s rookie campaign he’s had his first coach fired, experienced a divide within the organization on who should play, Jr Smith publicly say he wants to be traded and now teammates wondering if he is ready for the NBA. Thats an awful lot for anyone, let alone a rookie.
While it is difficult to judge a rookie that has been thrust into this difficult situation, his play has not been promising.
This is troubling news if you’re a Cavs fan considering the team is already of to a (1-8) start. Sexton will always be looked at as the “prize” of the Kyrie Irving trade. Considering he was selected with the coveted Brooklyn Nets pick. The Cavaliers selected Sexton in last June’s draft, after he had a promising freshman season at Alabama. The point guard showed the ability to make plays in the open floor, and a toughness on defense that Cleveland has long searched for at the guard position.
Unfortunately none of those abilities how shown themselves this season, again it is an extremely small sample size but the start has been rocky regardless. Thus far on the season Sexton is averaging,11.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 41.3 percent shooting. According to NBA.com Sexton is shooting the majority of shots from the mid-range area, and is shooting under 40% (16/42.) In the modern NBA the mid-range is considered the danger zone, because it is deemed a inefficient shot by the pace and space standards of the modern offenses. If Sexton were making these shots it wouldn’t be as problematic.
The next area Sexton takes the most shots is the restricted area, or lay-ups. He’s shooting just (11/22) or 50%, and often times he drives through the lane with only scoring on his mind. If that wasn’t troubling enough 75.6% of Sexton’s shots have come unassisted, so once he gets the ball it’s sticking with him. Sexton is learning the NBA game on the fly, which is obvious as he rids of his bad habits. And to those of you who say “why doesn’t he just shoot more threes”, just say Sexton has only attempted nine threes on the season making only two.
It is way to early to consider Sexton a bad NBA player by any means, but maybe the rookie is a little over his head just nine games into his NBA career.
Collin Sexton showed a toughness and aggressiveness on the defensive end in college, and even in the meaningless NBA Summer-League games. Surprisingly those traits haven’t translated so far this season, as the Cavaliers have been worse with him on the floor. According to NBA.com’s lineup data, the Cavs have been outscored by over 14 points per 100 possessions and posted a woeful 99.8 offensive rating with Sexton on the floor. Vice versa, the Cavaliers have an offensive rating of over 109 with Sexton on the bench.
The Cavs have not been a good defensive team over the last few seasons regardless of whose been on the roster, so it is unfair to burden all of their defensive issues on the rookie. No one in Cleveland thought things would be this bad, even the strongest critics expected the Cavs to at least be competitive this season, that has not been the case obviously. Sexton has not been the lone issue for the Cavaliers, but he is clearly causing frustration inside the locker room.
The good news is that Collin Sexton is only 19 years old, and has plenty of time to adjust to the NBA game. Ultimately the story is unfinished on Sexton, the hope is still there for him to grow into the play-maker the Cavs drafted him to be.