Disclaimer, this article is 100% an overreaction based on what we’ve seen in three games. It’s a minuscule sample, but fans should be salivating because from what we’ve seen. The future is starting to look bright.
Three games into the season and the Cleveland Cavaliers sit atop the Eastern Conference Standings with a 3-0 record thanks in large part to their backcourt. They’re tied for first in the league with the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. It’s safe to say that no one thought those three teams would have completed the first weekend of the NBA undefeated. Having beaten the Hornets, the Pistons in double overtime and now the 76ers, albeit, without C Joel Embiid, the Cavs look good. Just how good? Well, a lot of the time looking good overall doesn’t translate to wins, especially for the Cavaliers, but so far this year looking good means winning games.
Collin Sexton Will Be a Fringe All-Star
Never one to stand for Sexton slander, it’s safe to say that his continued growth has made this Cavs fan happy. As expected, he appears to have come out of the gate with something to prove. He’s shooting the ball well, making the right passes and utilizing his mid-range game and floaters to avoid having his shot blocked by big men in the paint. He’s learning. Before the season started I believed that he would come close to joining the illustrious 50/40/90 club (50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 90% from the stripe) and three games in I’m sticking with it. On any given night Sexton could go off and that is something Cavs fans should look forward to. Two things are stopping him from getting in. The fact that All-Star weekend has been canceled due to COVID and the fact that he plays in Cleveland. We all know how NBA fans and the media feel about any player that suits up for the Cavaliers. That good ole’ Cleveland bias.
Sexland Will Live Up to Their Mold
When the Cavaliers drafted PG Darius Garland a year after drafting Sexton (a PG on paper, but a SG in reality), it was rumored that they believed that they could form their version of PG Damian Lillard and SG CJ McCullum. After Darius’ first year, things weren’t looking so great, but now? Well, now it’s looking like these two could end up being better somewhere down the line. Sexton is a walking bucket. He’ll get his 20+ every night. Whether off the ball or creating his shot, you don’t have to worry about him scoring. To start the season, he’s averaging 27.0 PPG, 3.7 APG on 59.3% FG, and 66.7% from beyond the arc. Garland has come into his own averaging 19.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 8.3 APG on 54.8% FG and 50% from beyond the arc. Those are numbers of the starting backcourt. A backcourt that will be one of the top-10 backcourts in the league. Dare I overreact and say top-five? Of course. With the way HC JB Bickerstaff has the team playing, sharing the ball and creating shots within the flow of the game instead of forcing it, these two are primed to have a year where they both average 20+ PPG and four RPG. The only difference between the two will be the number of assists. Expect Garland to teeter between the 8-10 mark all season, while Sexton will sit around 4-5 APG, more than enough for a shooting guard.
Most Improved Players
Both Sexton and Garland will be in play for the Most Improved Player. Garland over Sexton simply because of how much he struggled last year. His game appears much more fluid. He’s calm and in control. Not overthinking and trusting his game and the game of those around him. He’s creating shots for others first and looking for his second. That’s what’s expected out of your starting PG. The better he plays, the more his backcourt-mate trusts him, the more you’ll see out of him.
Sexton has been a capable scorer since entering the league. The only questions that surrounded his game were his decision making with the ball, both shot selection and assist total. Now, playing the two-guard he no longer has to worry about the latter as much as his rookie season. His assists will likely come within the flow of the game since he won’t be handling the ball and running the offense as much. Even so, a boost in assists, even a few ticks, will help his case. After three games it appears as if Sexton is ready to average over 25 PPG. He does that and averages around five RPG and APG and continues to shoot the ball efficiently, look for him to be brought up in the conversation. However, as I previously stated, Garland is much more likely to win the MIP award.
In Conclusion, the Cavs are Back
That’s it. That’s the overreaction.