Amico: Cavaliers will try to make a point with Sexton

Author:
Publish date:

If nothing else, the Cavaliers are determined to learn if Collin Sexton is a starting NBA point guard over the final 22 games.

Granted, they will likely give Sexton beyond this season to make his case. But the Cavs at least want to feel good about the possibilities come what May.

For now, Sexton is indeed the starting point guard. He landed the role when veteran George Hill was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in December. The Cavs also have Matthew Dellavedova and Brandon Knight on the roster, and Jordan Clarkson can also play the position in a pinch.

But Sexton is their guy. And right now, he is far from the prototypical point man.

He can handle the ball, sure. He can drive. He can even lead. That said, he's not going to ring up any memories of Kyrie Irving with deft dribbling and an ability to break down defenders.

Sexton is more feisty than fancy, more straight-forward attack than dance around and dazzle.

He is averaging 15.0 points on 41 percent shooting -- which actually aren't horrible numbers for a rookie. His average of 2.9 assists, though, definitely needs to improve.

Still, a lot of point guards who went on to great things started a lot worse.

Steve Nash averaged 3.3 points his first year, 9.1 points his second, then dipped back down to 7.1 his third. In his fourth season, he averaged a measly 4.9 assists. Eventually, Nash became of the game's greats, a pass-first point guard in every sense of the word.

But at first, he couldn't shoot, was laughable on defense and basically looked like a guy who might rack up some decent numbers someday, but only if he took his talents to Italy or Spain.

Or perhaps Cavs fans can better relate to Mark Price. His jersey No. 25 hangs in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.

But before Price became Cleveland's favorite playmaker, he spent a year on the bench, learning the pro game. As a rookie, Price averaged 6.9 points and 3.0 assists.

Several years after that, Michael Jordan finally decided if the Chicago Bulls were to beat the Cavs, then Jordan would sometimes have to check Price. That is how much of a factor Price became in his prime.

And remember, Nash and Price played all four years in college. Sexton, 20, played just one before the Cavs drafted him with the No. 8 overall pick.

MAN OF THE FUTURE?

This isn't to imply the Cavs believe Sexton is the second coming of Nash, Price, Irving or even Andre Miller. But they do intend to have a better idea by the end of the season and early into next -- then draft and make trades accordingly.

Overall, the Cavs' front office likes that Sexton plays with fire and rarely gets discouraged. He is enjoying life as a pro and can typically be found smiling and staying positive in the locker room after games. That's not always easy when you play for a team with a 14-47 record.

He also has a good relationship with Larry Drew, as the young point guard shows a great deal of respect and attentiveness for the former pro and veteran Cavs coach.

Along with that, power forward Kevin Love and swingman Cedi Osman seem to have a good on-court rapport with Sexton. That's a major plus, as all three are expected to be a big part of things again next season. For instance, the Cavs sometimes dream of a lineup that features Love, Osman, Sexton and, say, Zion Williamson.

But before any of that can happen, they want to see Sexton grow as a playmaker. Clearly, he deserves more time and the Cavs will give it to him.

Mostly, what the Cavs really want is for Sexton to be the man directing the offense once they get good again.