Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton is proving the world wrong

Collin Sexton is playing the best basketball of his young career and is proving his worth as a scorer to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The judgment has been harsh for Collin Sexton through his first two years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. At 21 years of age, Sexton has been an easy scapegoat for fans frustrated with the organization’s slow rebuilding process.

Sexton has been blamed for many of the Cavaliers’ struggles. He is relentlessly criticized for his playmaking ability and is routinely the weakest link on the team’s already vulnerable defense.

Some of this criticism is rightfully deserved. Sexton’s total assists (172) and turnovers (136) make for one of the worst assist/turnover ratios in the league. Furthermore, his defensive rating of 117.4 is second-worst among guards who have played at least 50 games this season.

However, what many fail to realize is that Sexton has been steadily working to improve on every aspect of his game. He has been dubbed a “gym rat” by his teammates and his recent developments support this.

Earlier this week, Sexton scored a career-high 32 points in a battle against the Utah Jazz. Two nights later, the Young Bull hit new heights by scoring 41 points versus the Boston Celtics to keep the game competitive all the way through.

This performance marked the third time in Cleveland Cavaliers history a player scored 40-plus before their 22nd birthday. The other two players being LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

These scoring nights help cap off a 15-game stretch in which the rising star has averaged 24.1 points on 45.8 percent shooting from the 3-point line and 49.2 percent shooting overall. This ranks 19th in the NBA and third among sophomore players.

He is learning how to control his blistering speed in the open court while continuing to put pressure on back peddling defenders. Sexton ranks in the top 20 for layups this season and finishes over 50 percent of his attempts.

He has also been unconscious from beyond the 3-point line recently. Sexton has hit 33-of-70 (47.1) percent of his 3-point shots across the last 13 games.

Even Kevin Love had high praise for Sexton’s recent streak. “If you say his ceiling is somewhere, he’s gonna want to break through it,” Love said of Sexton after his career-high night.

Most importantly, he is showing signs of improvement as a decision-maker. He is getting better at reading the defense and making the right decision more often than not. This is a big reason Sexton is averaging over four assists and just 2.2 turnovers during this stretch.

Playmaking has been a huge concern for the Cavaliers as a whole and it’s clear that new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has made this a point of emphasis. The squad has dished out an average of 25.8 assists per game since Bickerstaff took over and are among the top 10 best passing teams in the league. This is much better than their previous spot as a bottom-five team.

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The Cavaliers still have some tough questions to answer regarding their future. Holding a 17-45 record, the Cavs are dead last in the Eastern Conference. Another trip to the NBA Draft Lottery will hopefully help them land another supporting player.

For now, the Cavaliers can feel encouraged by this string of games from Sexton. It’s unclear if he is capable of becoming a franchise player but he has certainly managed to silence his haters for awhile.

Next: Miami Heat: The stunning revitalization of Jae Crowder

 

 

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