Before I start my article, I must say something. I don’t know if this statement is because it is probable, or if it’s just my inner Cavs fandom. Regardless, I believe that Collin Sexton has a legitimate chance of performing like a Rookie of the Year candidate.
Since the NBA Summer League, I’ve thought about what’s next for Cleveland. Usually, I don’t watch much of the Summer League, but this year was different. I watched nearly every Cavs Summer League game, including their final game against the Lakers. The Lakers beat the Cavs 112-109 in double-overtime. Lakers guard Josh Hart and Cavs guard Collin Sexton battled in what was a Summer League game that exceeded my expectations. Hart poured in 37 points while Sexton scored 27. My favorite possession of the game was when Sexton took on the challenge of guarding Hart, especially in the final seconds of regulation.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 17, 2018
This possession gave fans a glimpse of Sexton’s competitive nature, which is an aspect of Sexton that won me over. If he is this competitive in a Summer League game, I am anxious to see what he does in the regular season.
Sexton was the 8th pick of this year’s NBA draft. The Cavaliers selected him with the pick they obtained from the Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas trade last August. The Cavs received Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Žižić, and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers held onto the pick (despite its trade value) and drafted the Alabama product. I kept hearing that this pick was a good pick with or without LeBron James, so I embraced it.
Sexton’s Summer League stats are nearly identical to his Alabama stats. He averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in his one-and-done stint in Tuscaloosa, AL, compared to an average line of 19.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists Summer League.
Mock drafts compared Sexton to Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe. His quickness and ability to drive to the basket makes him a scoring threat. He’s 6’2, nearly 190 pounds, but he embraces contact. His competitive nature is another benefit. He is a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers future, who will likely retool their roster and go younger. He is one of what could be many young players to join the Cavaliers core. In fact, he might be their most important piece.
Will Collin Sexton win Rookie of the Year? Maybe not. But, I expect to hear his name in conversations for Rookie of the Year throughout all of the 2018-19 season.