The Cleveland Cavaliers have started the year off on a reassuring note, with a record of 10-22 so far in the 2020-21 season. Compared to where the Cavaliers were last year, this is definitely noteworthy, especially considering all the injuries that have hindered Cleveland from playing with a full roster.
Players like Darius Garland, Dylan Windler and Collin Sexton have all recently returned after being sidelined for varying degrees of time due to injuries, with a right shoulder sprain for Garland, a fractured left hand for Windler and a left sprain in Sexton’s case.
Kevin Love (right calf strain/reaggravation) is seemingly on track to return relatively soon, but Matthew Dellavedova has unfortunately had lingering issues ramping up his workouts in coming back from a serious concussion suffered back in the preseason to be back available.
Per a report from The Athletic‘s Kelsey Russo and Joe Vardon (subscription required), Dellavedova may end up having to retire because of this and him having a concussion history in his career. Delly does want to return to serve as a mentor to Cleveland’s young guards, though, albeit there is no timetable for him, so we’ll have to see. And I wish Delly the best of luck in his recovery.
In any case, for the Cavs, despite the lack of players, earlier on, in particular, Cleveland has still managed to excel in their rebuilding phase. As time passes and things become clearer, it is evident that Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and the rest of the Cavs front office have a vision in mind for this team.
The Cavs are getting younger, quicker, and tougher. Cleveland’s success rests on the team as a whole and the head coaching prowess of J.B. Bickerstaff; however, the Cavs would not be where they are without their guards play.
Here, we’ll discuss how each of the active Cavs guards have performed so far.
Starting off, let us take a look at the potential franchise man himself, Collin Sexton.
Examining Sexton’s game so far
Collin Sexton has averaged 24.3 points per game this season, shooting at 50.0 percent from the field, and 44.4 from three-point range, coupled with his 4.3 assists and 2.6 reboundsper game. Sexton is an explosive force on the court. It is clear to anyone watching the Cavs, that this is not the same young guard that entered into the league in 2018.
Collin has grown into the leading scorer for the Cavaliers. You would think that sitting out for five games due to injury would have hindered his performance in his first game back, but you would be wrong. Even though he was out for several games, the Young Bull has returned to the rotation like he never left.
In his first game back from his injury, Sexton led Cleveland to a resounding victory over the new-look Brooklyn Nets, featuring the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Sexton’s career-high 42 points solidified the win for the Cavs in that game, and that came due to him lighting it up after regulation. Sexton had 22 points in the two overtimes.
Then, two days later, he did it again, leading the Cavs to back-to-back victories over the Nets, this time with 25 points, and nine assists, too. Durant, for context, was not playing in that second Nets game, though.
But the Cavs’ victory streak was broken soon after. Following the two wins against the Nets, the Cavaliers would go on to lose two games back-to-back against the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. Sexton had only 13 points against Boston, shooting 37.5 percent from the field, and had 17 points versus the Lakers, albeit only shot 35.3 percent from the field.
Cleveland was able to put up a win against the Detroit Pistons with Sexton shooting 71.4 percent from the field, with 29 points, on a positive note. And more often than not, Sexton has been a deciding factor in the Cavs’ performance.
While the Cavaliers have experienced a few bumps in the road, it hasn’t stopped Sexton, as seen by his shooting. When the Cavs are at home, Collin is shooting 49.1 percent from the field, and 47.2 percent from three-point range; while on the road, the Young Bull puts up 51.1 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from the three-point line.
Sexton’s defense has had positive signs throughout the season. While he definitely shines on the offensive end of the floor, the young Cleveland guard has still made a slight impact on the defensive end. Sexton’s averaging about 1.0 steals per outing, and his ball pressure has aided the Cavs’ perimeter defense, and has helped create turnovers.
Collin has also been fairly consistent with his passing, and him having 4.7 assists per outing since his return has been encouraging, although you’d like to see him trim the turnovers a bit, as he has had 3.0 of those per contest in that stretch.
But Sexton’s ability to pass the ball has improved since last year. Watching the Young Bull get his teammates involved and utilizing his passing skills to improve the success of his fellow Cavaliers around him shows how he has truly embraced his role as a leader of the team.
Granted, a slight knock on Sexton, to go with the Cavs as a team of late, especially, has been that he and the Cavs need to get up more 3s. Sexton has been huge for Cleveland so far, though, and that’s apparent.
Sexton’s grade for the Cavs so far: A-
Next, let’s take a look at the latter half of Cleveland’s young backcourt duo, and grade Darius Garland.