Cleveland Cavaliers: What Collin Sexton can bring to the team

Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images /

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Collin Sexton from the University of Alabama in the 2018 NBA Draft with the eighth overall pick. What will he bring to the team?

The most important NBA Draft for the Cleveland Cavaliers in three years has come and gone.

No, it wasn’t an Andrew Wiggins-esque player to be traded, or a potential franchise center that was available at No. 8. However, it was a point guard that has a chance to be solid and productive in the NBA for a long time.

With the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Cavs drafted Collin Sexton out of the University of Alabama.

Sexton, along with Trae Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, were the top rated point guards in the draft. In most mocks, the Cavaliers were projected to take one of them.

Young was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks at No. 3 and then traded to the Atlanta Hawks, while Gilgeous-Alexander was drafted at No. 11 by the Charlotte Hornets, but was then traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Cavaliers fans were mainly split on the pick. Some wanted them to get Michael Porter Jr, who dropped all the way to No. 14 to the Denver Nuggets. His constant back issues were a problem with teams in the long-term. He might not even play this season.

Sexton is 6’2″ and 183 pounds. He’s a bit of a smaller point guard, but his speed and explosiveness make up for it. He plays above the rim, and has the attitude and mind of a ruthless player who will do anything to win.

Heck, last season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Alabama’s players got in a fight, foul trouble and injured — and it left them with only three players available against five.

That didn’t stop Sexton.

He finished the game with 40 points, and at one point, he got the game within three points. Who wouldn’t want a player like that to represent their franchise?

There have been a number of comparisons on what Sexton could turn out to be. During his pick, Chauncey Billups mentioned how he reminded him of a young Eric Bledsoe — mainly due to his height and build, and ability to play taller than his 6’2″ frame.

While that’s true, he could be seen as a poor man’s Russell Westbrook if he reaches his potential All-Star ceiling.

He has the speed, attitude and winning mindset of Westbrook. Sexton isn’t as athletic as Russ, but his endless ability to attack the basket in transition and put opposing players on a poster matches them perfectly.

Sexton is also a good defender, not great just yet. He’s not Patrick Beverley or Jrue Holiday, but he could surpass them with practice and yearly progression on that end of the floor.

It’s something the Cavaliers haven’t had at the position since Matthew Dellavedova. That, mixed with the ability to score, could turn into something special for the team.

The biggest issues with Sexton are his shooting and his ability to create for others. Just like with Westbrook, he sometimes takes the playmaking into his own hands instead of getting his teammates more involved.

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He’s going to have to learn to trust his teammates, get the ball movement started and take it from there. The worst thing that can happen is the offense is stymied by a bad offensive ISO possession by Sexton. It will probably be an adjustment period for him, but it will pay off in the end with his overall game.

His shot is something that definitely needs work.  He shot 44.7 percent from the field, and an underwhelming 33.6 percent from 3-point range at Alabama. Most teams want their guards at least shooting 36-40 percent from long range. He also has a slight hitch in his shot as well.

It’s not Dion Waiters bad, but it’s something that will make perfecting his shot more difficult. Sexton is also going to have to work on a quicker release of his shot. The rate at which he releases it at now gives it a high probability of being blocked.

All of those issues should improve with time and work ethic, which is something the Cavaliers and scouts were enamored about with him. Sexton would spend so many hours in the gym at Alabama that the staff turned the lights out on him.

He was rumored to have worked out in a gym at 11 a.m. before the draft on Thursday.

That’s impressive. Any team would want to hear that about their top prospect.

Another issue that Cavs fans were worried about, and it’s a bit silly — is whether he can play with LeBron James since he’s ball-dominant.

There’s a player by the name of Kyrie Irving (as much as it pains me to type that name) who was ball-dominant, played alongside James, and it worked out pretty well for both of them.

That won’t have any affect on James at all. He would probably enjoy that after being the only player that could create his own shot this past postseason.

Learning under James would expedite his progress and make him a better overall player mentally, which wouldn’t take much since he already has a winner’s mentality.  It would be a blessing in disguise for the rookie.

The only issue is coach Tyronn Lue. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s going to remain the head coach of the Cavaliers. Lue isn’t known to play rookies big minutes, if any at all.

Should LeBron leave in free agency, upper management could force his hand for Sexton to start, but it’s not a guarantee. It will all remain to be seen.

Collin Sexton was a good, safe pick by the Cavaliers. He has a high ceiling, but also a lot of work ahead of him as he works on his game. Unfortunately, he will always be compared and in the shadow of Irving. It doesn’t help that he’ll be wearing No. 2, which has already caused an uproar among Cavs fans.

Next: Complete 2018 NBA Draft grades for all 30 teams

If Sexton works on his game, slows things down and just goes out there and plays, the Cavaliers might have the best player in the whole entire draft.