CLEVELAND, Ohio — Collin Sexton se polarise.
On the one hand, Sexton, who won’t be 23 until January, is one of the league’s top young scorers.
Last season, a year after being named a rising star, he averaged his best career records in points (24.3) and field goal percentage (47.5) while making his way through the conversation of the stars. Sexton has also made promising progress as a secondary playmaker, averaging 4.4 assists and increasing to 6.1 when Darius Garland was injured at the end of the season.
Despite silly chatter to the contrary, players with Sexton’s three-level scoring package are not easy to find. A list of guys 22 and under averaging over 24 points while boasting a live-shoot percentage of at least 57% shows just 20 names in NBA history, including Devin Booker , Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Zion Williamson, and a bunch of other future Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars past and present. Pretty good company there.
Sexton’s unique burst allows him to blow through defenders and explode to the brim. His improved 3-point shot keeps the defense honest, no longer being able to go under the screens like at the start of his career.
The third-year goaltender is also a hard worker and a fiery competitor. Head coach JB Bickerstaff and other teammates have repeatedly called him a “big kid” – though Sexton’s style of play can be frustrating at times.
During his rookie season, his teammates asked him if he knew how to play, wondered why he was getting so many minutes, and scoffed at organizational support from top to bottom. He had four different head coaches and 52 teammates. He changed positions to better adapt to Garland, learning to become a threat away from the ball. Has been unfairly criticized for things beyond his control. Played with lousy teammates and appalling pitch spacing. And yet, throughout it all, Sexton not only persevered, but he progressed as a player, identified his flaws and fixed them every season – as a # 1 scoring option with defenses focused on him.
A lesser guy would have broken. He’s the kind of player – and person – worth betting on.
On the other hand, Sexton is an outlier.
He is not a leader. The Cavaliers front office made the admission a few years ago, using the fifth pick in 2019 on Garland, who members of the organization say has become the most promising core of the young core and is eligible for a extension in 2022. Sexton, an undersized shoot guard, has clear defensive limits that are even more on display when paired in the backcourt with Garland – the two together limiting the team’s ceiling. At 6 foot 1 and 190 pounds, Sexton doesn’t have the size, strength, and length to bother the wings. While effort isn’t a problem, he still doesn’t have a good grasp of how to navigate screens properly, resulting in point-of-attack failures that often jostle the remaining defenders.
If there are areas to nitpick in attack, it starts with his shooting profile. Even the Cavs stayed in his ear about taking fewer midrange jumpers and more than 3 points. According to Cleaning the Glass, he is in the bottom six percent of guards at the rate of 3 points. There were also a lot of judgments about his tunnel vision, excessive dribbling, pick-and-roll readings, and passing. Its advanced numbers – PER (Player Efficiency Rating), VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), BPM (Box Plus-Minus), Win Shares – are not appealing, which raises many questions as to whether Sexton is improving teams. His release could be faster. Its handle could tighten. People in the league believe he would fit in better with a stable and rival team. His game has been called “ugly”. He probably shouldn’t be the focal point of an offense.
All of this, combined with looming contract extension talks of unlikely value, has resulted in Sexton being “very available” this offseason. At this point, it seems like more than usual due diligence and market value exploration.
After years of assembling assets and building through the project, the Cavs have almost reached the point where it’s time to put some tangible monetary value on Sexton, which could limit financial flexibility going forward. That’s when mistakes threaten to cripple progress, cost jobs and have lasting impact. Giving him a rookie’s max that could reach $ 168 million over five years is dangerous. Wouldn’t it be easier to let someone else make that decision?
The Cavs still love and believe in Sexton. Sources say they put a hefty price tag on him, which could make a deal difficult, and The Athletic identified the New York Knicks as the “most aggressive” trading contender on Tuesday. The New York Post confirmed Sexton was a player on the Knicks’ radar, even claiming he would have been their draft pick three years ago if Cleveland hadn’t grabbed him a spot sooner.
Cleveland and New York have discussed the possibilities, sources say, and it’s an obvious potential business destination. The Knicks are one of the many teams monitoring the situation.
Surprisingly failing in the playoffs last season, the Knicks placed 22nd in offensive efficiency during the regular season – and those struggles became their playoff loss, placing second to last among 16 qualifiers. Sexton would give them a needed shot creator, someone to relieve most improved player Julius Randle, especially with guards Elfrid Payton, Derrick Rose, Frank Ntilikina, and Alec Burks headed for free will.
Sexton is a client of CAA, the agency Knicks president Leon Rose ran until last season, and is also well known to former Cavaliers executive Brock Aller, who was in Cleveland when the makers fell in love with Sexton following love at first sight. workout before the draft.
But what kind of package could New York put together?
The Cavs were knocked out by RJ Barrett ahead of the 2019 draft. They even tried to trade a few spots, sources say. Barrett would not be considered untouchable, seen as a potential centerpiece of the trade if the Knicks go hunting for the stars. After a strong second season in which the 21-year-old averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while hitting 40.1% on a 3-point range and started the 72 games, it’s hard to see the Knicks parting ways with him for Sexton – and then agreeing to give Sexton a huge contract.
Power forward Obi Toppin, a player Cleveland considered No.5 before choosing Isaac Okoro in last November’s draft, doesn’t make much sense for a team that already has over $ 40 million invested in it. Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love and could add Evan Mobley with the third pick in a few weeks. The Knicks have a pair of 2021 opening rounds (Nos. 19 and 21), but they’re sweeteners as opposed to headliners of a deal. So who else? Knox Salvage Project? Even packing the three together would give the Cavs essentially a trio of backups for Sexton.
Think more about it and the Knicks aren’t the ideal business partner. Unless Barrett was involved, sending Sexton to New York would be a sideways move from Cleveland – or maybe a step back.
In the void, other potential landing spots – Miami, New Orleans, Indiana and the Los Angeles Lakers – also present pitfalls. It’s not easy to find teams that need a player with Sexton’s skills, who have the commercial edge and who would be willing to pay for him. Unless, of course, the Sexton deal becomes a bigger blockbuster, stacking it with any combination of Love’s hefty salary, a future draft pick, Taurean Prince’s expiring contract, or the very coveted Larry Nance Jr. Love in a Sexton Exchange.
Would have this Kind of Advance Talks Package With Anxious Philadelphia 76ers For Ben Simmons Now Available? How about tempting the New Orleans Pelicans in a chat about Brandon Ingram, the All-Star caliber wing at the top of Cleveland’s summer business wishlist? Both are more dream scenarios than reality.
If the Cavs can use Sexton as a trading chip to improve other areas on the roster and find a more suitable piece that helps maximize Garland’s skills while guarding against a tough financial decision, they’ll consider it.
But pulling the trigger is a different conversation. They have nothing to do – not trade Sexton or sign him for a contract extension this summer. Technically, negotiations can last until October, the day before the start of the 2021-22 regular season. If there is no deal, Sexton becomes a restricted free agent in 2022 – a loaded and deep class that could lead him to be buried and not find the second contract he covets.
While it’s true that the league doesn’t like Sexton as much as Cleveland, if opposing leaders have similar questions about Sexton’s archetype and worth, then a big offer isn’t looming, is it. ? If he can’t be a mainstay of the franchise for the Cavs and they shouldn’t treat him – or pay him – like one, then why would anyone else? In this sense, wouldn’t the restricted free agency work be in favor of Cleveland?
Of course, time has started to turn. But it doesn’t expire until the next offseason.
So far, Sexton is the most productive and reliable player on the team. He’s the top scorer for a team that doesn’t have enough offensive punch. He’s also the top 2 guard on the list, with no better option using the mid-tier exception or in the draft if Jalen Green becomes No.2. That’s why any discussion of a sixth man role should be shelved. by the time the Cavs actually have someone good enough to pull off that first gig. This is also why there is no reason to make a hasty gesture out of desperation.
Maybe the Cavs would come up with a deal they would agree with, something that makes them better, something other than what amounts to simply revamping the lounge chairs on the Titanic. Maybe they don’t. There are logical arguments to explore it. There are also strong arguments for keeping it around.
Like everything else with Sexton, it’s complicated.
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