Coming into the league, Collin Sexton was a small guard bursting with athleticism and a never-ending motor. Looking at him three years later, he still has those things and a lot more. Sexton has quickly risen to young stardom and has shown why he is the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ best player.
Sexton has been one of the bright spots for a team that has been in a rebuild since LeBron James left in 2018.
Now, the Young Bull is looking to make a mark on the NBA with this upcoming season being the biggest season for him thus far. There are some questions that he could answer: Can he be the lead guy for this team? Is he worth a max extension? Can he make an All-Star team? All of these questions can be answered in the upcoming season.
Sexton isn’t a one-man show however and for him to improve, the team has to as well. There are moves that Cleveland general manager Koby Altman can make to put Sexton in the best position to succeed.
With that in mind, there are two key goals in particular that I believe Sexton can hit this upcoming season for the Cavs and here, we will look at them.
The first relates to his playmaking growth.
#1: Continue to showcase improved playmaking abilities for the Cavs
The biggest gripe for Sexton, if you would call it that at this point, has been his playmaking. Sexton was drafted into the NBA as a point guard but the Cavaliers would quickly move away from that direction. In the following draft, they selected Darius Garland, and after a bounce-back campaign for Garland, the two look like a match made in heaven, with one picking up what the other may be leaving behind on offense.
Though Sexton has become the full-time shooting guard, critics still look at his playmaking as lacking, though it is an area that is solid for his position and playstyle. Still, Sexton becoming better in this area is a plus and the concerns may have more to do with tunnel vision.
In 2020-21, Sexton’s assist percentage was 22.2 percent, which was higher than the likes of Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, so the playmaking criticism would seem to be overblown, frankly.
Looking at this, you can see Sexton’s passing is actually good for the scoring output that he gives out. Still, people want more from the Young Bull and he took note of some remarks in an interview late into the season. In this interview, Sexton stated that he would “make sure I prove them wrong,” via Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, and that he did.
Over the team’s last eight games, Sexton averaged 5.9 assists per game, showing that he has the potential to be a lead facilitator when needed. This first goal for Sexton is to just build off of that stretch of games and bring it into next season.
For the Cavaliers to build off of this stretch, they can help Sexton by improving the fit, shooting and offensive philosophy of the team. If they are able to do these things, Sexton should average five or more assists per game.
#2: Represent the Cavs in the 2022 All-Star Game
This now-past season was the closest the Cavaliers got to having an All-Star post-LeBron James. Sexton played in 10 of the team’s first 15 games, averaging 26.8 points per game on 52.3/46.8/79.2 shooting splits.
Coming off of back-to-back crazy wins against the Big-Three Brooklyn Nets, even while Kevin Durant did not play in the second outing, an All-Star appearance looked likely for the Young Bull. As quickly as the team would rise, they would fall, losing 14 of their next 16 games.
Adding in that the Eastern Conference was stacked with guards, Sexton’s All-Star chances were shot.
Now, with Sexton and the team likely improving next season, this would be Sexton’s best chance to make the All-Star game. It should also be added that Sexton’s competition at the guard position could weaken this offseason.
Kemba Walker has already been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Could Kyle Lowry move conferences this offseason? Will Ben Simmons be traded? Could players such as James Harden and Kyrie Irving sit out games due to load management? Most of these questions should be answered by the start of next season.
Another reason why this next season is perfect for Sexton to become an All-Star is that All-Star festivities will be held in Cleveland in 2022. Not only would this be a great talking point, but it would also help to propel Sexton more into the national spotlight, bringing more positive buzz to the team.
Plus, next season will mark the third year that Cleveland has hosted an All-Star game, with the previous two having players from the team represent the city (Mike Mitchell in 1981 and Terrell Brandon in 1997). Sexton has a chance to continue this trend and if things go right, it is likely that he will.