Collin Sexton’s rookie season was a lot of things, and it was different things at different times. Early on, it was a disaster. Later on, something quite promising. People like myself probably got a little too hung up on the bad times, and our lack of excitement about the pick from the moment it happened likely impacted our inability to be patient. If you’re visiting this website, you probably have a pretty good idea of where he’s at.
A lot of his on/off numbers are atrocious. His normal shooting line, 43/40/84, is pretty darn good for someone in their age 20 season. That shooting line came on mostly terrible shot selection until, almost inexplicably, it became pretty darn good shot selection for the final third of the regular season.
He needs to get stronger, he lacks a pure point guard’s passing vision, and some of his teammates complained about his play during the season. He also has a frame to put on weight, works his ass off, shot better than anyone had a right to expect and looked pretty good as a secondary ball handler. Brandon Knight’s arrival led to better results, as did Kevin Love being healthy and on the court near the end of the season.
He’s interesting. I feel like I’m more optimistic about him than I was 10 months ago, and certainly more optimistic about him than I was five months ago, but I still don’t know exactly where that leaves us. Is he your starting point guard of the future? Do you need to find one, still? Assists are not a great stat, but it’d have been nice if he had more of them. The numbers say he was a good shooter from distance, but is that something the Cavs can bank on? Anywhere you think he’s going requires projection. The Cavs can’t necessarily take his status as a future starter that impacts the game in a positive way for granted, but they also can’t really draft someone that would take his role just a year in.
Or maybe they can. Darius Garland has a similar build to Sexton, and has an offensive game that scouts seem to think profiles better for the league. He looks like he’ll be a good shooter, off the bounce or otherwise. His playmaking is limited in a way similar to Sexton’s, and playing them together would likely mean substandard defense. He’s not someone I’d look at closely if I truly believed in Sexton. But if you really love what Garland can do, how do you pass it up?
Jarrett Culver and DeAndre Hunter, on the other hand, are both guys who carry bigger frames, and do different things than Sexton. They both project as plus defenders at some point, perhaps sooner than later. What if the Cavs like Garland’s upside over these guys? If they ended up drafting Garland or Coby White — who in fairness does have a bit more height and length than Garland — it’s likely that the Cavs would say all the right things about them being able to play with Sexton, and how they’re building blocks on a team trying to develop young talent.
Whether or not they would mean it would be up for interpretation, and it’s also fair to wonder if it’d be fair to either Garland, White or Sexton himself. These are guys that are clawing to assert themselves in the NBA. Every game is a challenge, they’re learning a whole new system and lifestyle and trying to prove they belong. Adding to the degree of difficulty doesn’t make a ton of sense. We’ve been through this before with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, though both of those guys have strong and somewhat difficult personalities.
What does it mean? I don’t know. Koby Altman’s job is difficult. Finding a secondary playmaker with some size on the wing that can help Sexton with creation makes the most sense to me. Maybe that’s trading up for R.J. Barrett. Maybe it’s Culver. I think I’d probably like it to be Culver. But the Cavs have a lot to weigh, and Sexton doesn’t make things any easier. He’s a variable they have to take seriously.
And hey, given where things stood in January, that feels like a win.