How Collin Sexton and Kevin Love Can Help The Cavs Remain Competitive

The “Young Bull” era is near in Cleveland.

With LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Collin “Young Bull” Sexton is the Cleveland Cavaliers’ newest potential star. A point guard out of Alabama, Sexton is fearless. He relentlessly drives to the basket, and he has an effective midrange pull-up jumper.

The Cavs aren’t a title contender, but the Eastern Conference is wide open with James in the West. With Sexton’s toughness and playmaking abilities, coupled with Kevin Love being the team’s No. 1 option on offense, the Cavs still have a chance to make the playoffs.

Sexton, 19, dazzled during the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 19.6 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game, and 3.4 assists per game. He led the Cavs to the summer league’s semifinals, where he scored 27 points in a 112-109 double overtime loss against the Lakers. He was named to the All-Summer League first team.

What Sexton showed during summer league is his ability to be a playmaker. He can weave through defenses and score or set up his teammates.

And with that, Love will have plenty of opportunities to score in the half court.

In his four seasons with the Cavs, Love hasn’t averaged at least 15 shots a game from the field. But in his six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he averaged at least 15 shots from the field three times.

Love is still capable of being a primary scorer. During James’ second stint with the Cavs, Love averaged at least 16.0 points a game. He primarily played a stretch big role, spacing the floor and shooting 3-pointers.Love will still space the floor, but now he’s going to have more shots. He’ll likely receive more post-ups and more isolation scoring opportunities.

The Cavs have an opportunity to play a more free-flowing offense with Love as the No. 1 option. Though James helped the Cavs play as best as possible, he dominated the ball on offense, especially last season. He had a 31.6 usage percentage last season, and when he got into the lane, he either had to score or kick the ball out to JR Smith, Kyle Korver, or another shooter for a shot.

This was essentially most of the Cavs’ offense. Now, though, the Cavs are positioned to have a more diverse offense. With their youth – the Cavs’ current average age is 26.9 – the Cavs have the potential to be a team that runs the floor when the opportunity is there.

“I think now it’s going to be a situation where we have to play faster,” coach Tyronn Lue said during a Cavs’ summer league game in July. “We have to have guys on the floor that can make multiple plays, either shooting it, dribbling it, making a pass.”

Tyronn Lue talking about Collin Sexton

Sexton, Cedi Osman, and Larry Nance Jr. have a chance to lead the Cavs’ fastbreak. Sexton has good change-of-pace speed – he’s shifty. Osman and Nance also run the floor well.

Sexton isn’t an elite shooter, as he shot 33.6 percent from the 3-point line for the Crimson Tide last season. But his midrange pull-up jumper is one of his best moves; he gets to the middle of the floor with ease.

The Cavs aren’t going to be nearly as good as they were. The top of the Eastern Conference is littered with quality teams – the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers. Also, James provided the Cavs with so much. It’s going to be impossible to replicate what he brought to the floor.

Still, the Cavs have the necessary pieces to be compete for a lower seed in the playoffs. Sexton has a chance to help the team in his rookie year, and Love has a chance to show why he’s still a talented scorer.

The LeBron James era is over in Cleveland, but a new one, one that features Sexton and Love, is ahead. And for that, Cleveland fans should be optimistic about what the future can bring.

 

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