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Youth report: Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman pick up the slack

Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman step up as play makers this past week.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the youth report for the week of January 20th through January 1th.

Player of the Week: Collin Sexton

Averages this week: 21.3 points, 3.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 46 FG%, 46.2 3P%, 57.9 TS% in three games

The solid scoring outputs have continued for Collin Sexton. This is also the second week in a row where he’s averaging more than three assists per game.

But earlier in the year, when he would get assists it was typically either rotating the ball around the perimeter, or finding a player in transition. What’s encouraging with Sexton lately is he’s starting to read and react to the second line of defense.

Getting past his initial defender hasn’t been much of a problem all season for Sexton. But too frequently he would be overly ambitious in attacking the rim, leading to him being the most blocked player in the NBA. Now we are seeing him bring the ball back out, while keeping the dribble alive; showing awareness of where his outlets are for drive and kick opportunities; as well as an improved understanding of how to finish around the rim.

A player going from bad vision to great vision as a playmaker doesn’t really have a precedent in the NBA. But Sexton doesn’t need to have great vision. Making the simple and correct reads, as he’s done more of lately, can make a big difference in improving his effectiveness. Both as a scorer and a part of a functional team offense.

Darius Garland

Averages this week: 12.3 points, 2.3 assists, 1.3 rebounds, 26.5 FG%, 30 3P%, 35.8 TS% in three games

Undoubtedly the worst week of the season for Darius Garland. Early in the season when Garland was ineffective, it was due to him being passive and disappearing on the court. This week was our first real taste of Garland pressing and being actively bad with his decision making.

Whether you want to attribute his struggles to coming back from the long road trip, the flu, or the rookie wall; there’s no denying Garland was unable to play through the adversity he was dealing with.

Hopefully this stretch will not continue much longer and we will see him playing more in control. The effectiveness will likely continue to have peaks and valleys, but there’s no reason for his shot selection and decision making to continue to be this poor.

Cedi Osman

Averages this week: 13.7 points, 4.7 assists, 1 rebound, 45.7 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 55.8 TS% in three games.

An aggressive Cedi Osman tends to make things a little easier for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Darius Garland ineffective, Osman stepped up to provide some secondary play making to go along with his outside shooting.

It would be nice to see the Cavs work in more catch and shoot opportunities for Osman. Going back to last season, Osman was far more effective on pull up threes (37%) than on the catch and shoot (33.1%). This year the pull ups are staying steady at 38%, but his catch and shoot numbers are up to 40.1%.

Running Osman through some off ball screens or other actions to have Garland and Sexton find him for catch and shoot opportunities should be a priority. It can help build some confidence for the young guards as well as help determine the legitimacy of that shot for Osman. It can also create some opportunities for him to drive past defenders that are closing out and create chances for himself and others.

This team isn’t one that is full of naturally gifted play makers. So more sets for one of the more dynamic players vs. hand offs from Tristan Thompson behind the three point line would be a welcomed change.

Dante Exum

Averages this week: 3 points, 2 assist, 1.7 rebounds, 37.5 FG%, 0 3P%, 46.1 TS% in three games.

We are still too far away to determine exactly where in the second round the 2022 pick from the San Antonio Spurs and the 2023 pick from the Golden State Warriors will fall. Speculation likely wouldn’t be very productive, especially when you consider the possibility of the Cavs trading these picks prior to either of those drafts. This was something they did last year when they cashed in second round picks for Kevin Porter Jr.

Stats as of Jan. 26