The Cleveland Cavaliers have a promising young core, but they have some work to do to fill it out and make it one that is bound for championship contention someday.
One task they have is to re-sign guard Collin Sexton, who has emerged as a legitimate scoring threat.
He missed most of this season with a torn meniscus, but before that, he had shown that he is a pretty high-level talent, averaging 24.3 points and 4.4 assists a game in 2021 while hitting 37.1 percent of his 3-point attempts.
The market for Sexton may not be as great as expected, which would make it easier for Cleveland to keep him in town without breaking the bank.
Two executives who recently spoke with @SIChrisMannix pegged #Cavs #Cavaliers RFA PG-SG Collin Sexton's value now at $10-$12 million per year. https://t.co/hmB8wpjQ4C
— Kyle Cohen (@kylecohenNBA) July 1, 2022
Sexton is certainly a real good player, but the question surrounding him over the last couple of years has been whether it would make sense for him to start alongside Darius Garland in the Cleveland backcourt moving forward.
Sexton Has His Flaws
To be sure, Sexton appears to be a very skilled scorer, as he can not only get buckets, but he can do so efficiently.
Not that many NBA players ever average 24 points for an entire season, but Sexton has that under his belt, and he did so in only his third season to boot.
Collin Sexton in his last season:
LeBron and Kyrie are the only other Cavs with those stats or better in a season. pic.twitter.com/9JJ0GybbkS
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 29, 2022
However, he is only 6-foot-1, and since Garland is also 6-foot-1, such a starting backcourt would be a problem for the Cavs on the defensive end.
Although both men could average over 20 points a game each while starting together, they would likely give up lots of points, especially when pitted up against bigger guards.
One of the Cavs’ needs is productive two-way wings, and one of the reasons why is to provide better defense when going up against men such as James Harden, Khris Middleton, Jaylen Brown, Klay Thompson and Luka Doncic.
A Sexton-Garland backcourt would put too much pressure on the team’s frontcourt, especially Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, to cover for both guards when they get beat on the perimeter.
The Cavs were a very good defensive team this past season, ranking seventh in defensive rating, and one thing that helped was Isaac Okoro‘s growth as a defender.
He may not be a great defender, but at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, he at least has the size to make big guards work for their points.
The Best Solution?
If Sexton shouldn’t start next to Garland, would he be willing to come off the bench in a sixth-man role?
It wouldn’t be ideal, and it could hinder his ability to get a huge contract the next time he’s up for one, but it may be his best bet to stay on a team that looks to have a serious future.
Sexton could be the first man off the bench and play some limited minutes with Garland in a small, pace-changing lineup for J.B. Bickerstaff, then be paired with a bigger, veteran backup point guard when Garland goes to the bench.
Perhaps a model for Sexton to follow is Vinnie Johnson, who came off the bench for the Detroit Pistons in the 1980s to give them instant offense and got himself two championship rings at the end of the decade.
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