The Cleveland Cavaliers are facing the summer with uncertainty once again. LeBron James, the franchise leader in almost every category imaginable, is expected to forego his final year and become a free agent and there is a chance that he might not be back next season.
With the NBA Draft looming next week, the Cavs sights are set on a player at the number eight spot that can play for them with or without James on the roster. One of the players in consideration is Alabama’s Collin Sexton. The highly-touted point guard is considered one of the top playmakers in college and could end up in a Cavs uniform depending on how his workout with the team turned out.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the workout was scheduled a day after the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors.
No rest for the weary: With the Cavs’ season ending in a Finals sweep on Friday, the front office hosted a draft workout for Alabama guard Collin Sexton on Saturday, league sources tell ESPN.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 9, 2018
His college averages of 19.2 points, 3.6 assists, and 33.6 percent 3-point field goals could translate well in the NBA. He has a raw game that could be polished by being mentored by someone who has played the game at the highest level.
How Collin Sexton Fits with LeBron
Sexton is a dynamic point guard who some have compared to Russell Westbrook. The explosiveness and mid-range game do give us flashes of the 2016-17 NBA Most Valuable Player. What Sexton has that Westbrook didn’t when he came into the league is a more polished outside shot. Kemba Walker is another player who compares favorably to him, but is a couple of inches taller.
The 2018 playoffs showed that the Cavs were sorely missing Kyrie Irving and his inside-out game. Sexton is a similar player, someone who can create his own shot by driving to the basket or setting himself up for a jumper.
One major concern with Sexton is his ability to create for others. As a 6-foot-3 point guard, he would need to develop that skill if he wants to lead a team. If James stays with the Cavs, he will learn the art of making his teammates better from one of the best passers in league history. If he is humble enough to acknowledge that he needs to get better in this aspect, he could average five to six assists a game in his rookie year.
In an offense built around James’ playmaking abilities, Sexton will not be required to play a traditional point guard role. Instead, he will be like Irving, who played off-the-ball most times and took advantage of defenses sagging off of him when James drives to the basket. Sexton can also play the point guard role for the second unit when James takes a breather.
He can be a force in this league sooner with the 14-time All-Star guiding and giving him notes on how to attack the rim and when to pull it back.
If he is as clutch as he appeared to be at times during his high school and college playing days, James will have another option on offense when the game is tight at the end. Any kid with this much talent when harnessed around James’ leadership is likely to blossom into a special player.
How Collin Sexton Fits without LeBron
The Cavaliers drafted Irving number one overall after James left to take his talents to South Beach. He was their lone superstar and took over the offense late in games to give the team a chance to win.
This Cavs team is a vastly different group from the one that James left in 2010. They have a good mix of veterans and young players who can help Sexton to grow into a leader. As the starting point guard, the Alabama product should easily take control of the offense, but will need to recognize that he has to take better shots.
He didn’t have the kind of strong-willed presence on his team in college and will have to learn on the fly from the Cavs vets what it takes to carry a team on his shoulders.
He and Kevin Love will be the primary scorers on offense and he will have to make sure that he feeds the big man early and often. Then, there’s J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver, two longtime veterans who Sexton needs to be aware of when they’re open at the 3-point line.
On defense, he has a 6-foot-7 wingspan that gives him an advantage over most guards that he goes up against. It is, of course, worth noting that many draft experts project him to be an above average player on that end of the floor.
When it comes to being a professional, Love and Korver should be his mentors and he will be in good hands if the Cavs draft him.
It’s easy to imagine Collin Sexton playing a role similar to Irving’s before James’ return in 2014. If the Cavs can keep solid veterans around this kid, he can mature quickly and ultimately develop into an All-Star in a few years at best.