Wins and Lessons with the Cavs: Last Second Lessons

Collin Sexton Cavs Media Day
Scott Sargent/WFNY

Former Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Ty Lue said this season won’t be measured in wins and losses, but rather “wins and lessons.” With that in mind, and in honor of his memory, WFNY is going to follow along with what we learn every week.

The Cleveland Cavaliers nearly notched their second win on Saturday night, but young point guard Collin Sexton couldn’t get his shot to fall as time expired. In a lost season where wins are nearly non-existent and moral victories few and far between, Sexton getting the call for the game-winner served as a positive lesson for the rookie.

So, what have WE learned?

The Cavaliers are playing dinosaur basketball. With Kevin Love and Sam Dekker both nursing injuries, the Cavaliers were forced to play with two traditional big men in Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. Playing two bigs at the same time seems pre-historic in the new pace-and-space version of the NBA, but having two behemoths on the court together helped shore up some of the Cavaliers defensive woes. While too small a sample to trust, Thompson and Nance Jr. have a plus-4.9 net rating in 46 minutes this season, while giving up only 90 points per 100 possessions. Having the size to protect the rim and rebounding acumen to limit possessions has been an advantage for a short-staffed Cavaliers squad.

Collin Sexton starting to figure it out. Sexton has a long, long way to go before he becomes a foundational player, but he is showing flashes of where he can impact the game at the NBA level. In two games as a starter, the rookie point guard is averaging 17.5 points and has a plus-5 net rating. Again, small sample sizes mean very little, but they are also the only data point we have available at this time. Sexton seems more comfortable in a starting role and is beginning to make plays. His shot chart shows he was able to get to the rim Saturday, though he struggled to finish or draw the foul.

Sexton hit the lesson-winner. Listen, game winners are cool, but when you’re the Cavs, you have lesson winners. The rookie got to the rim but couldn’t finish and his follow-up was blocked by Jabari Parker.

For all the rumors of a locker room that doesn’t like Sexton, he was tasked with winning the game and we heard very few complaints from the veterans. When a season goes south the news is almost always negative, but hopefully, the young guard has the backing of his locker room and lessons like this will be met with support. And hopefully next time, a made shot.

The Cavs play a back-to-back with the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday and the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Let’s hope for continued success from Sexton and maybe, if we can get a bit greedy, a win.