Cavs: Transition will continue to be crucial for Collin Sexton

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton looks to make a play. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton looks to make a play. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

Last season, Collin Sexton led the Cleveland Cavaliers in scoring once again with 24.3 points per contest on 57.3 percent true shooting. Sexton leaned more into him being a full-time 2, and his multi-faceted scoring abilities were on display.

Sexton’s change-of-pace in settled offense on-ball and/or in pick-and-roll paid dividends for him, as he showed more growth in that realm in Year 3. That, and him coming into this now-past season for Cleveland stronger led to the Alabama product getting more free throws, and as the season wore on, even more so.

Sexton had a robust 6.4 free throw attempts per contest, and it’s apparent that he’s a difficult player for opponents to account for often with his speed/quickness and ability to get his spots.

Now, objectively, for both Sexton and Darius Garland, it is a plus that the Cavaliers are stressing for both to be attempting more three-point attempts from here. Garland hit 39.5 percent from deep in 2020-21, and even with a rough March, Sexton still hit 37.1 percent from there.

Cleveland is reportedly wanting both to attempt eight triples per game next season, and while we’ll have to see involving that lofty clip game-to-game, it is an understandable mindset, with how both are highly capable from downtown. Garland at least should be having that as a point of emphasis; albeit Sexton I would like to be shooting more than the 3.9 per outing he attempted in Year 3.

On a positive note though, Collin’s quickness, strength and paint scoring feel led to plenty of transition production for him again in Year 3, but in a more efficient manner than the prior campaign. Sexton had 4.2 transition points per contest in 2020-21, and placed in the 69th percentile on a frequency of 14.7 percent, per Synergy Sports.

It’s evident that the transition game is going to be key for his production moving forward, too.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Transition will continue to be crucial for Sexton.

Sexton’s open floor abilities were on display a bunch in Year 3, and I just thought his feel in those situations, and change-of-pace led to him being more under control, which led to better efficiency.

In Year 2, there was positive signs in that regard, and it did lead to his share of free throws and some and-1s, but there were still some ill-advised decisions game-to-game in those situations.

Last season for him, however, that was not the case nearly as much, and the growth in that realm led to better looks more regularly as the season wore on. And it just reiterated that with Collin’s speed/burst and with his improved feel, to go with his strength, transition will continue to be crucial for him moving forward.

Sexton again placed firmly in the 69th percentile in transition scoring in Year 3 for the Cavaliers, and per Synergy, had an effective field goal shooting clip of 60.6 percent and 1.2 points per possession in those instances. His free throw frequency was a healthy 17.5 percent as well, for what it’s worth.

Going forward though, while his driving/slashing and also improved cutting feel should pay off for the Young Bull in transition/secondary transition, those situations could lead to quality in-rhythm three-point looks a bit more here and there as a counter, too. There was seemingly more confidence from him in those scenarios as 2020-21 progressed, and at least to me, that’s something that we could see some more of from him looking onward.

He should keep being a regular target for the likes of Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Jarrett Allen, Larry Nance Jr./Dean Wade and others with how difficult Sexton is to stop in the open floor from here.

That’s factoring in Collin’s driving, pull-up/push shot feel and with how he’s gotten progressively stronger year-to-year.

Granted, as an aside, if the Cavaliers, who ended up with the #3 pick in the upcoming draft, select Jalen Green, the usage/shots for Sexton would be due to decrease.

And also, with Sexton extension-eligible, if they were to select Green, some do believe that Sexton could potentially be traded eventually it’d seem, and The Athletic‘s Sam Vecenie (subscription required) believes that Cleveland should be listening to offers for him in that case.

He expressed that the Cavs shouldn’t look to trade this pick, in reaction to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski from yesterday, and I’m of that same opinion; you can view more on that in the KJG link above.

To me though, personally, on the Vecenie subject, with what Sexton has shown, a Garland-Sexton-Green trio with bigs such as Larry Nance Jr., Jarrett Allen, Dean Wade and perhaps Lamar Stevens could aid that group, with Isaac Okoro occasionally at the 4.

We’d have to see on how the minutes would be, but with how difficult that aforementioned trio would be to guard, particularly in transition with Sexton’s abilities there and in secondary transition, Cleveland I’d rather see that works next season.

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This in the case that Green starts at the 3 later into the season and gets worked in gradually, with Cleveland still young, and perhaps a Kevin Love trade, as a side note, could maybe play out down the road/near the deadline if he can be mostly healthy.