Going forward, Cavs know what Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr. provide

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. high-fives Cleveland guard Collin Sexton in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. high-fives Cleveland guard Collin Sexton in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Going forward, the Cleveland Cavaliers know what Collin Sexton and Larry Nance Jr. will provide.

This 2019-20 season has proven that the Cleveland Cavaliers know what they’re getting from Collin Sexton, at least in a scoring sense, and that from Larry Nance Jr. in the all-around perspective.

Granted, we know that the rebuilding Cavaliers have their share of question marks heading into next season.

Can Darius Garland show more as a scorer? Can the Andre Drummond, given that he’s reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option, and Kevin Love be a pairing that can play long stretches together on the floor?

These are a few that jump out for 2020-21, and with NBA owners reportedly extremely likely to vote for 22 teams to go Orlando for a 2019-20 season resumption, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, it appears we could seemingly have to wait until December to see the next Cavs game action.

Wojnarowski and Lowe note how Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett pleaded his case for the league to consider bringing all 30 teams to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex later this summer to help lessen financial “plight” of small market clubs not set to participate and have competition, but again that doesn’t seem likely.

That being said, both Woj and Lowe did also touch on teams out of the playoffs have discussed potentially having “mandatory summer training camps and regional fall leagues” on a small scale, though.

At any rate, it’s only natural for the Cavaliers and their fans to shift focus toward the 2020-21 campaign and looking onward.

Playing off that, what was clearly shown for much of this season, with next season in mind, is that the Cleveland Cavaliers know what they’re getting from Sexton and Nance.

Sexton has continued to show he’s a more than capable floor spacer in 2019-20, as he’s hit 38.0 percent of his three-point attempts, and he’s gotten better as a finisher thanks to improved strength, while showing change of speeds to get buckets in the mid-range area. Virtually this whole season thus far, Sexton has led the Cavs with 20.8 points per game.

While he did improve as a passer leading into the league’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, he does need to keep progressing there, but it is clear that the Cavaliers can definitely rely on Sexton to put constant pressure on opposing defenses in the scoring sense. In turn, that’s often resulted in baskets for Cleveland off-the-bounce and off-the-catch.

Plus, Sexton’s on-ball defense has made strides, and his feel as a cutter has gotten better, which has led to easier looks for him off-ball after deliveries from Garland, Love and others.

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Along with his consistency as a scorer, which is coincided with his true shooting rate jumping from 52.0 percent in 2018-19 to 56.0 percent this season, the durability of Sexton stands out.

He has not missed a game so far in his career, which speaks volumes about his drive and commitment to the game, and the Cavs can always rely on Collin to be out there.

When he’s in there for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they know what just what they are getting from Nance as well. Jr. has had 10.1 points per game so far this season, which is a career-best, to go with 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per outing.

Post-All-Star break, after J.B. Bickerstaff took the head coaching reigns, Nance was playing especially well, too. In that 11 game-span, Jr. had 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals per contest, per NBA.com.

It’s evident that Nance is the Cavs’ best all-around big, and while he’s still mostly a bench contributor, with him proving to be a viable 3 option at times and him hitting a career-high 35.2 percent of his triple attempts this season, he should start more throughout next year.

Now, given that he has missed some time due to left knee soreness this season and has at most played 67 games in his near-five-year career, it’s fair to say Nance does get banged up from time to time. Albeit this season, he could’ve been on pace to play 73 games.

Regardless, though, the energy, two-way rebounding, quality team defense/feel and improvement on-ball offensively, to go with his secondary playmaking, proves that the Cavs are getting a big that does some of everything when he’s out there on most occasions. Nance is great in transition, too.

So even while we’ve seen a bunch of instances that show Kevin Porter Jr. has immense potential as an on-ball creator, and I believe he could be a high level perimeter defender, and Garland’s playmaking feel has been encouraging, those pieces are still going to have their growing pains. The same goes for Cedi Osman, and really, even more so when he’s going against starting 3’s too often.

It is clear, though, that going forward, even with him not having great vision, the Cleveland Cavaliers know that Sexton is going to fill it up and generate offense even in late clock and be durable, and in Nance’s case, they are going to get quality production in the all-around sense.

That’s been typically off the bench, but he’s proven to be solid when he’s been starting at the 4 or 5, too.

dark. Next. We'll find out how Darius Garland responds to pressure in 2020-21

Sexton and Nance are definitely pieces that should emerge more as leaders for the Cavs as well in coming years, and it seems Nance already has.