Cavs: Collin Sexton should continue uptick in driving efficiency

Collin Sexton was much more efficient as a driver in year 2 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In his first season, Collin Sexton did have plenty of moments as a driver, but with him hesitating less in spot-up/catch-and-shoot situations in his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, that seemed to help him on drives.

While Sexton did hit 40.2 percent of his three-point attempts in 2018-19, he was prone to passing up open looks off-the-catch from deep much of that season before after the All-Star break, and that led to often too many tightly-contested mid-range looks. As a driver, too, that seemed to hurt him a bit, and what definitely hindered Sexton in his first season was that he did not seem to change speeds to keep defenders off-balance.

In year 2, though, Sexton didn’t show much hesitation, if at all, from three-point range on spot-ups/catch-and-shoots, and he still hit 38.0 percent of his deep attempts.

Albeit what seemed to really pay dividends for Sexton in 2019-20 was him showing the ability to change speeds. That did lead to mid-range pull-ups, sure, but that ability definitely led to Sexton having plenty of nice looks via driving floaters and his drives to the basket were less predictable for defenders.

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Of course, Sexton getting stronger heading into his second season for the Cavs only helped him as a driver/finisher, too. Along with that, Kevin Love’s shooting presence, of which was not out there much for Sexton in 2018-19, I would imagine helped, and Love hit 37.4 percent of his career-high 7.0 three-point attempts in 2019-20.

Anyway, when looking at next season, I would expect Sexton’s driving efficiency uptick to continue for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In his rookie season, Sexton averaged 10.8 drives per outing, which led to 5.0 shot attempts, of which he hit 42.1 percent of those looks, per Second Spectrum’s driving tracking data. He had 5.6 driving points per contest, a points percentage of 52.0 and a turnover frequency of 7.1 percent.

I’m not going to grill Sexton for those numbers as a rookie on a club that was mostly without Love, and that did not have the likes of at least while the numbers didn’t entirely show it, a gifted shooter in Darius Garland, for instance.

Either way, though, Sexton in his first season was much more rushed on his drives, and was more predictable in what he was doing by often going full speed ahead, which led to him fighting up tough shots. Granted, Sexton still had a ton of shots blocked, and actually more in year 2, even with the novel coronavirus-impacted season, which at this point at least is done for Cleveland.

That said, in his second season, though Sexton being in more of a full time 2 guard role likely had some to do with it, he had more success as a driver overall.

Again, that came in large part due to him showcasing the capability to change his speed and really utilize quick bursts to get last bits of separation after poking and prodding as a driver more consistently in settled offense. That was in relation to some instances in the driving floater game from roughly eight-to-10 feet on occasion, too, though Sexton had more success on standard floaters.

Anyhow, in 2019-20, Sexton averaged 13.9 drives per outing, which led to 7.1 shot attempts, of which he hit 47.6 percent of those looks, again, per Second Spectrum’s driving tracking data. He had 8.6 driving points per contest, a points percentage of 62.3 and a lower turnover frequency of 5.8 percent.

Moreover, with the growth Sexton showed as a driver in his second season with Cleveland, I believe he’ll continue to have a steady uptick in terms of his driving efficiency. Will his driving hit rate improve by 5.5 percent again in year 3 as he did from year 1 to year 2?

I wouldn’t expect that, necessarily, no, but hovering around 50.0 percent in his third season, if not a bit higher seems reasonable with how Sexton proved to play much more under control as a driver in just his second season.

Plus, with Sexton further proving his ability to be an efficient three-point shooter, that shouldn’t hurt his driving, and if Darius Garland can improve as a shooter/pick-and-roll scorer, which I think he should be able to, that could help further space the floor for Sexton.

I’d imagine that while Kevin Porter Jr. only hit 33.5 percent of his attempts from three-point land overall last season, he hit 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point tries, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data, and in stretches with Sexton, that could aid the Young Bull.

So could Dylan Windler if he can stay mostly healthy, as Windler hit 40.6 percent of his 534 three-point attempts in a four-year collegiate career at Belmont. Although I wouldn’t expect him to play nearly as often next season, Cedi Osman hitting 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts in 2019-20 should help space the floor when he’s out there, also.

Given that I’d expect Porter to have an increase in terms of playing time and on-ball workload, I could see Sexton’s number of drives go down a bit, but either way, I believe Sexton’s driving efficiency uptick should continue in his third season.

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Hopefully Sexton can see a bit more dump-offs after drives, too, though, and with him showing the feel to see that more post-All-Star, perhaps we will.

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