Cleveland Cavaliers’ resurgence starts with Collin Sexton

Cleveland Cavaliers’ resurgence starts with Collin Sexton

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a promising start in their 2020/21 campaign being on a three-game winning streak in the last three contests. Two of them came against the contending Brooklyn Nets with Collin Sexton being the best player in the court vs. the opponents’ superstar big three.

Sexton made great strides since his rookie season, where some veteran Cavaliers’ players deemed ‘he is not know how to play’. Sexton was too confident to get pounded by statements like these. He got better and more efficient every year since then.

The Young Bull

Sexton is an incredibly fast combo guard, who can score the ball in several ways. In his rookie season, his play seemed to be out-of-control averaging 16.7 points on 43% shooting from the field and 40.2% shooting from 3-point range.

The young Cavs, who had entered a rebuilding state, after LeBron James decided to take his talent to LA, were on minus- 12.5, when Sexton was taking the floor with his turnover numbers and his defensive deficiencies standing out The pattern did not change until last season and during the last 10 games of the season, before the league’s shutdown on March.

The Young Bull was already shooting the ball better averaging a career-high 47.3% from the field during the 2019/2020 campaign. However, his breakthrough started during the final days of the previous season, where the Cavaliers ended on a respectable 4-6 record.

Slowing the game down

The game slowed down for the Young Bull starting to shooting under better circumstances on a high percentage. He averaged 30 points on 58. 4% shooting in March, until the NBA decision to postpone the season due to COVID-19 pandemic.

He also had 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per contest. The Cavaliers went 2-3 during that stint with Sexton recording a career-high 41 points in a close-fought loss against the Boston Celtics. Those numbers are almost identical with his current stats in a more convincing sample of games through his first 15 appearances of the 2020/21 campaign.

The promising guard averages a career-high in points (26.8) and assists(4.2). He is also registering a career-low 1.9 turnovers per contest becoming the first player to score 20+ points in the first 10 games of a season for the franchise.

Statistical presentation

At the top of his excellent play, Sexton and the Cavs are finally winning games with the third-year player being one of the leading offensive players in the league. He clearly made many adjustments in his game going along with Cleveland’s moves to surround him with good defenders in the wing and post area.

The Cavaliers won six of the ten games Sexton played this season with the team having a +12.0 net-rating in those wins. While his defensive liabilities are covered mainly from Larry Nance Jr. and rookie Isaac Okoro, Sexton is feasting on the other end of the floor with exemplary shot creation in P&R situations and isolation plays.

Sexton scores most of his points on pick&roll plays being in the 79.5 percentile as the ball-handler on pick&roll situations. He produces 1.02 points per play being in the league’s top-10 in points(9.6 per game) at this particular category.

He also excels in racking up points on isolation plays, as he’s producing 2.3 points per game on 58.3% shooting and an excellent 75% on EFG%. The Alabama product is a score-first guard, and more importantly an efficient one.

He is in the 78.5 percentile isolation plays producing 1.17 points per play in those situations. If we check on Sexton’s last 50 games shooting chart, it’s obvious that he is getting his points from specific spots. Something that was pretty evident in his last couple of games.

During his career masterpiece vs. Brooklyn, Sexton took over in the overtime to score the last 20 points of the Cavaliers and lead them to a double-OT win. Sexton scored most of his point shooting over his opponents, but he was aggressive during regulation making most of his shots in the paint.

He was constantly penetrating from the left and the right side of the arc creating havoc to Nets’ shaky defense. In the two game-span against the contending Nets, Sexton had 67 points, including a career-high 42-point performance.

The Cleveland Cavaliers may not be among the teams that could end up making the 2021 postseason, despite their good season so far. Nevertheless, it’s evident that even without crucial pieces like Kevin Love at their disposal, they can make the game tough for their opponents.

JB Bickestaff’s team seems to be in the right track and Sexton performances are one of the main reasons for that. With their young core of Sexton, Garland, Okoro and Allen fit perfectly as of now, the future might be bright for the ‘Wine and Gold’.

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