Cavs: Collin Sexton’s pull-up progression is key positive from 2019-20

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton runs down the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton runs down the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The continued progression from Collin Sexton in relation to his pull-ups is a key positive from the 2019-20 season thus far for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Second-year guard Collin Sexton has really leaned into his role as a go-to scorer for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thus far virtually this entire 2019-20 season, Sexton has led the Wine and Gold with 20.8 points per game.

Heading into the NBA season’s novel coronavirus-induced suspension, Sexton had also been putting up 24.5 points per game in his last 15 outings, as shown by In that span, Sexton had an effective field goal shooting clip of 57.0 percent, too, and this season, his effective field goal shooting clip has been an improved 51.7 percent overall.

Sexton has shown growth as a passer in terms of willingness and more so in the last two-ish months pre-hiatus, was finding interior threats such as Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr. and post-trade deadline, Andre Drummond, more often, and finding kickouts more frequently to Kevin Love and others.

Sexton has demonstrated better feel in terms of his on-ball perimeter defense as well, but even while his game is far from a finished product, a key positive from 2019-20 thus far has been Sexton’s continued progression as a pull-up shooter.

Kevin Porter Jr. showing tons of potential on both ends and being a bench spark, Darius Garland‘s passing vision, and Nance becoming even more of a three-point shooting threat and post-up scoring/secondary playmaking option are other key positives for Cleveland.

Again, though, Sexton’s pull-up progression is right in the mix as the biggest positive to me. Sexton has shown much more patience in changing speeds in the pick-and-roll game, which has enabled him to manipulate matchups more and generate cleaner looks with more space.

It’s not as if Sexton hasn’t had his moments with falling in love at times with the mid-range area, which has been a bit taboo in today’s NBA, but with Sexton hitting a robust 44.6 percent on his shots from 10-16 feet out this season, I can’t fault him for taking those looks in-rhythm.

Along with that, while Sexton’s frequency has been near the same from the mid-range at that 10-16 feet area, Sexton taking deeper 16-plus feet mid-range looks at only a 6.8 percent frequency as opposed to 20.9 percent his rookie year, per Basketball Reference, has been nice to see.

Too often in his rookie campaign, we saw Sexton pass up too many open three-point catch-and-shoot looks via ball-swings, and then resort to taking tougher deep 2’s.

That then led to more difficult and even out-of-rhythm pull-ups that were unnecessarily bad shots.

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He’s seemingly cleaned that up a bunch, and with Sexton not just playing at one speed and attacking the paint all the way to the rim and getting his shot blocked a ton, he’s utilized pull-backs and/or floaters more after stopping a bit further out.

With that being the case throughout this season, it’s made him more unpredictable and harder to guard, and also factoring in how he’s stronger than he was in 2018-19.

That recognition from Sexton has led to, while not a massive improvement from a 43.7 to 44.7 effective field goal percentage hit rate on pull-ups, per’s shot tracking data, less forced shots in early-clock.

Additionally, Sexton playing more off-ball has allowed him to time up off-ball screens to get into those looks easier.

Going forward, too, with how Sexton has further proven that he’s a very good catch-and-shoot threat, as evidenced by him hitting 42.1 percent and 44.3 percent on catch-and-shoot three-point looks in his two seasons, I’d expect that he’ll be even more lethal as a pull-up/pick-and-roll scoring threat.

Coupled with that, Sexton’s hit a more than respectable 35.0 percent on pull-up triples thus far in 2019-20, and with his quickness, I’d expect we could very well see that look from him via one or two-dribble pull-ups running off off-ball screens from deliveries from Garland, Porter and/or others in coming seasons as well.

Moreover, to me, one of the biggest positives thus far from this 2019-20 season for the Cavs, of which we may or may not see them in game action more down the road, has been the continued pull-up progression of Sexton.

Next. Three reasons Cavs' Darius Garland can breakout next season. dark

It’s clear as day to me, too, that Sexton should be the Cavaliers’ primary option next season.