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Roundtable: Collin Sexton’s playmaking upside, Dante Exum’s potential and more

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So what’s up with the Cavs’ playmaking?

NBA: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

What is Collin Sexton’s ceiling as a playmaker?

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): I think there’s a world where Sexton is a useful secondary playmaker on a good team. I don’t think he’s the top option because he’s not passing guys open and his DNA is to score first. But I think he can be part of a closing lineup and not be someone who cuts off the offense by not looking at all for the pass. Who know if he can be that good, but the Lou Williams type feels like a good outcome.

Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan): At his absolute peak, and assuming him looking competent under J.B. Bickerstaff as a playmaker is real, Sexton will average about 4.5 assists per game. This isn’t a slight against Collin, mind you but it’s just more so in his DNA to be a score first, pass later type of lead guard.

Jackson Flickinger (@Akron_Jackson): Playmaking isn’t necessarily a skill you can develop like shooting. It’s much more of a “feel” talent for lack of a better term. For the most part, players either see the court well or they don’t. Unfortunately Sexton doesn’t have that ability. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t improve. I’m going to agree with Evan in that 4.5 assists is probably his max.

What is Darius Garland’s ceiling as a playmaker?

CM: It’s hard to say even I like some of his passing as a rookie and think it was better than advertised. He was largely bad as a rookie by most any metric and wasn’t even the most impressive Cavs rookie. Considering his injury layoff, there’s some reason to think last year was always going to be rough. But I think year two is where he get a better idea of what his ceiling is.

ED: Watching DJ Augustin shred the Bucks off the bench in the playoffs so far has given me a lot of eerily similar Darius Garland vibes. And by that, I mean Darius has the potential to chip in about 6-7 assists on a nightly basis all while he remains somewhat inconsistent in his scoring ability. Like Collin, this isn’t a slight against Darius but Augustin should be the baseline comparison going forward with maybe a ceiling of peak Cleveland Mo Williams.

JF: Garland does have that feel that I was discussing earlier. Garland’s problem is that I don’t believe he can make all the passes he sees at this time. Fortunately, that part is something that I expect to improve as he matures physically. Garland has the potential to be a solid initiator in the league if he develops like many were expecting he would before the draft.

What kind of playmaking do the Cavs need more of: creating for others or one-on-one scoring?

CM: Both are issues, but it’s clearly the former to me. It’s not really baked into the scheme the team has run since LeBron left — although I guess John Beilein tried? — and it’s not a core feature of any of the players they have. Whether it’s a Luka Doncic type or a scheme that creates better looks, I think that’s the most important thing for the Cavs to get right as they take a step forward.

ED: The Cavs don’t have “the dude” currently on this roster. Bad luck in the draft lottery has kept Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant from becoming a Cavalier and those four are dudes that make their offense abide to them. So, that means the Cavs need to construct a roster where one through five they all have some semblance of playmaking in their repertoire. One-on-one scoring won’t work against teams with star players so the Cavs will have to lean on their strength in numbers instead.

JF: There’s been a glaring lack of either playmaking since 23 went west. I’m going to say they need someone who can create for others more at this time. As Evan pointed out the Cavs don’t have their guy so to speak yet. Until they hopefully get that guy they need players who can fill multiple rolls and initiate offense. I wouldn’t say the Cavs currently have many plus playmakers for their position. Hopefully that is a need that can be addressed through development of the players on the roster or through the draft.

Do you own any Dante Exum stock?

CM: Yes, because he’s a big guard who is a good passer and a good athlete. The problem is that he’s seemingly always injured and can’t ever stay on the court for a long enough stretch to make it work. The idea of him is good and I’m all for giving him 15-20 minutes a game next season if he’s healthy. But that’s a big, big if.

ED: If he’s healthy, sure. But he’s been an enigma for the entirety of his time with Cleveland due to an injury history that has more or less annihilated Exum’s confidence in himself. If he can stay upright, the Cavs have a tall and lanky combo guard that can facilitate off the bench. But, that still shouldn’t stop the Cavs from going after a security option whether it’s Cassius Winston in the draft or re-signing Matthew Dellavedova in free agency.

JF: I love the optimism on Exum from Chris, I just can’t get there personally. The best version of himself feels like exactly what the Cavs need. Unfortunately I’m skeptical he’ll ever reach that version of himself. I do want to give credit to Koby Altman for going out and taking a flyer on him. There’s no reason not to give someone like Exum a shot if you are in the Cavs’ position.

Where are you at on Matthew Dellavedova — is he the veteran guard you’d stick with for next year or would you go in a different direction in free agency?

CM: I don’t think Delly is a bad option if he’s inexpensive because he’s going to push players in practice, is willing to talk on the floor and keeps things organized. He isn’t especially good anymore, but that’s a role that needs to be filled and if he’s willing to do it, so be it. If the Cavs want an upgrade who could be around for the next few years, I don’t hate the Kris Dunn option.

ED: It’s like the person asking these questions is Raven Symone or something. If the Cavs do not address an alternative option to Exum through the draft then they should re-sign Dellavedova. Thankfully, since Delly’s shot has completely abandoned him, he can be had for cheap and won’t force Dan Gilbert to pay the luxury tax for what’s shaping up to be a bad 2020-21 Cavs team.

JF: I’m on team do whatever you can to keep the 2016 champions around as long as possible. I’m not sure Delly brings anything to the table at this point besides being a ball mover, but that is something the Cavs actually need. As long as it doesn’t take up a roster spot from a development type player I would be completely fine with it. Speaking of re-signing past champions, let’s keep Tristan around too.