Now that Collin Sexton is officially two years into his career, seeing all the improvement and potential in his game, it’s time the Cavs recognize the talent they have right in front of them.
Collin Sexton improved a great deal in his second season. Whether it was his basketball IQ, shot selection, efficiency, or even defense, there is promise in every facet of his game.
First and foremost, his basketball IQ and defensive improvement. Like most rookie guards, Sexton struggled quite a bit in his first year. And according to a report from Joe Vardon of The Athletic, even anonymous Cavs’ players thought Sexton didn’t “know how to play” On the defensive end, he was dreadful. Basketball specialist FiveThirtyEight notes “He’s often a mess on defense and allows an NBA-worst 4 1.07 points per possession when guarding pick-and-roll ball-handlers, according to data from Second Spectrum (Yes, at 6-2 and 190 pounds, he’s small. But it’s sometimes a lack of on-court IQ as well. At 1.2 points per possession, Sexton also surrenders more points per play5 when he dives under screens than any other NBA guard — a sign that he’s not identifying which players he can’t leave open yet.)”(Herring, C). Though he is far from good on the defensive side of the ball, he is showing lots of promise with his hustle and fouling improvement. Keep in mind he has to guard bigger and larger shooting guards while being the size of a small point guard.
Now, the area that may be his biggest improvement: his shot selection. Before the 2018 All-Star break, 39% of Sexton’s jumpers were mid-range jumpers; and about 21% of his shots were from 16 feet to the three-point line during his whole rookie campaign. That number has dropped down to around 7% in his second season. Sexton is also taking more shots near the hoop, allowing him to get to the line easier, which we will get into shortly. This shows Sexton is now into taking more efficient and “team friendly” shots – either at the rim or beyond the arc.
Now, the result of Sexton’s improved shot selection: improved efficiently. Every one of his shooting percentages went up except for his three-point shooting, which was still a solid 38%. His overall FG% jumped from 43% to 47%, his 2FG% jumped from 44% to 50%, his eFG% went from 48% to 52%, his TS% went from 52% to 56%, and lastly, his FT% stayed similar going from 84% to 85% even on an increase of attempts because of his increased shot selection at the rim.
Collin Sexton is improving, and as long as the Cavs recognize this and build around him, they could be a playoff team sooner rather than later.
Herring, C. (2019, March 28). Collin Sexton Is No Longer Historically Bad. He May Even Be Good. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/collin-sexton-is-no-longer-historically-bad-he-may-even-be-good/
Fedor, C. (2020, July 20). Collin Sexton [Sexton driving to the rim]. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/cavs/2020/07/collin-sexton-joined-elite-company-became-one-of-leagues-best-young-scorers-cleveland-cavaliers-season-review.html