The Cleveland Cavaliers 2020-21 campaign has been over for a while now and they’re now looking towards the future. After moving up to land the third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cleveland can now select a franchise-altering talent to guide the team back towards the playoffs. But, to make that happen, we have to evaluate the talent surrounding that draft selection. Whether it’s Jalen Green, Evan Mobley or Jalen Suggs, there has to be a fair and honest analysis on the season their future teammates had last year.
Today we’ll be discu -
Turns off Twitter notifications.
Looks around the room.
Okay. I think we’re safe.
Today we’ll be discussing Collin Sexton — one of the more polarizing players on Cleveland’s roster and the reason why my social media mentions are on fire every other day. Sexton wrapped up his third season in the Association and he was great statistically. He averaged 24.3 points on an effective field goal percentage of 51.9% to go with 3.1 rebounds and a career-best 4.4 assists. In a fairly tumultuous season for the Cavaliers Sexton was one of the only true consistent commodities. He showcased his ability as an efficient three-level shot creator and has cemented himself as a top-ten player from his draft class.
Sexton’s highest moment last season came when he singlehandedly upstaged the newly-formed Nets big three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. The Cleveland guard dropped 42 points in an overtime thriller and received nothing but national praise afterwards. The game already was an opportunity to put the Cavaliers back on the national stage. Sexton grabbed that opportunity by the throat and ran with it. Unfortunately, the national attention fizzled when the Cleveland lost 14 of their next 16 games. But at least it’s something, right?
Despite the amazing offensive outbursts, everything wasn’t exactly perfect for Sexton. After three seasons, we’re starting to get a better idea of the type of player Sexton is. As mentioned above, he’s an efficient three-level shot creator that has made him arguably one of the best offensive players on Cleveland’s roster. The issue with that though was Sexton’s shot profile:
Upon initial review, Sexton has the shot profile of a modern NBA guard. It’s predominantly three-pointers and baskets in the paint - an analytical wet dream. But, the actual issue instead lies in the distribution of Sexton’s shot chart. Last season Sexton attempted 1105 field goals and made 525 of them. Of those 1105 attempts, 264 were three-pointers and he made 98 of those for a three-point percentage of 37.1%. The remaining shots were within the arc where Sexton connected on 427 of his 841 attempts.
Sure, Sexton is shooting the ball the ideal way an analytically forward team like the Cavaliers wants him to. He just needs to increase his three-point attempts from 4.5 per game to about 6 or 7 per game. If he were to do that, it would raise the ceiling of Cleveland’s offensive potential. Last season, the Cavaliers ranked 28th overall in offensive efficiency, only ahead of bottom feeders like the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder. There’s a direct correlation between teams that take (and make) more three-pointers that also sit at the top of the league in offensive efficiency. If Sexton is going to be the motor that drives Cleveland’s offense, he needs to add a few more attempts from beyond the arc to his repertoire.
Other than that, the only other major bump on Sexton’s 2020-21 campaign is his lack of vision while on the court. Sure, after The Athletic dropped a parachute hit piece on him criticizing his passing Sexton’s assist numbers improved. (He averaged a career best this year!) But, we need to see if that's truly sustainable heading into next season. Having Jarrett Allen as a safety valve and easy read down low helps a ton for Sexton. But, having him run the pick and roll with Allen or pick and pop with Kevin Love or Larry Nance Jr. will only help Sexton grow further. If that still doesn’t unlock his ability as a playmaker at all then Cleveland will have to make sure Sexton is paired with more than just Darius Garland as a floor general. That way Sexton can focus on primarily getting buckets while the players alongside him set the offense.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad season for Sexton but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. But, for a Cavaliers team that finished the year 22-50 that can be said for anyone. Thankfully Sexton is a tireless worker when it comes to honing his craft and maybe this summer will finally be the time he commits to ironing out the remaining wrinkles in his game. Hopefully he does since he could have possibly millions of dollars riding on it in a future extension. Sexton is a fluid piece on Cleveland’s chessboard that was at one time everchanging. But, we may have more of a clear idea of who he now is going forward next season. The next step is figuring out where he fits in the grand scheme of this rebuild.