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.
Fourteen games into the season, one thing is clear: Wins will be few and far between. With that said, appreciate every win the Cavs have this year. Whether it’s once a week, twice a week, zero a week, never take a win for granted this season. There will absolutely be lessons every game, but on this Friday, we’re going to focus on the one victory the wine and gold had this week, beating the Charlotte Hornets, 113-89, Tuesday night.
Some lessons will be thrown in along the way, but let’s not overlook the Cavs’ second win of the season.
Collin Sexton continues to develop
Winning is fun, but considering it’s pretty clear that the Cavaliers aren’t a playoff team this season, development is the most important part of this season. Winning games will help that development, especially if players gain a winning mindset, but seeing players such as Collin Sexton develop as the season goes on is crucial.
During the first 10 games of the season, his struggles were somewhat well documented. The rookie averaged 10.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.7 percent from the field and just 30 percent from beyond the arc, shooting just one three-point shot a game in 23 minutes a night.
Over the last four games, all of which George Hill has missed due to a shoulder injury, Sexton has played much, much better. Maybe, just maybe, that’s all he needed. In the last four games, all of which he has started, the 19-year-old has averaged 18.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 70 percent from long distance (2.5 three-point attempts per game) in 35.7 minutes a night. WFNY’s Jeff Nomina also pointed out Sexton’s development in his latest Wins and Lesson.
Both are small sample sizes, but over the past four games, it’s clear that Sexton is slowly gaining some confidence. Considering the number of shots he has taken, along with additional minutes, interim coach Larry Drew has continued to lean on Sexton more and more and the point guard has made the most of his increased opportunities. Keep in mind, he had played his fewest and third-fewest minutes prior to this four-game stretch.
Continue to play the youngins
If there’s one lesson that the coaching staff needs to learn (and continue to do) this season, it’s to play the young guys as much as possible. They’re going to struggle, but that’s expected. The only way they will continue to learn from their mistakes and gain confidence is by playing more.
The Cavs aren’t going to the playoffs. In fact, they are going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA at season’s end. The two most important things Cleveland needs out of this season: Development and a good draft pick. While playing the veterans at times to keep them focused is important, along with their ability to lead and help develop the youngins, the younger players’ development is what’s most important.
The more the young players play, the better it will be for the future. Sexton has already proved that to be true. Hopefully, it continues.
Tristan Thompson sure is something
Where did this Tristan Thompson come from? Last season he struggled and could never really find a groove, yet this season, he has been quite impressive. Averaging a double-double (10.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists), he has been one of Cleveland’s few bright spots this season, especially among the veterans. The big man is shooting his lowest percentage (54.2 percent) from the floor since 2014-15, but besides that, he’s improved on everything else. His 8.4 shots, 10.1 points, and 10.8 rebounds per game are his most since 2013-14 as well.
Whether it’s his energy, leadership, or just his ability to grab some rebounds and score some points in the post, Thompson has been really good early on. Prior to Wednesday night’s blowout loss, the 27-year-old had averaged 15.5 points, 16 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 64.4 percent from the floor in 31.9 minutes a night. Like all of the other stats, it’s quite a small sample size, but it’s still nice to see (and watch) nonetheless.
He may be a bit overpaid, but given how important he was during the Cavs’ championship run in 2016, he deserved it. In fact, every player on that team deserved to get paid, honestly. It’s nice to see Thompson playing so well to begin this season, especially over the last few games.
Personal lesson: Cheer LeBron Wednesday night, do not boo, please!
I’m not one to tell fans what they can and cannot do. To each their own, but with this being my last Wins and Lessons until further notice, this would be my last opportunity to mention this. When the Los Angeles Lakers come to The Q on Thanksgiving Eve Wednesday night, please don’t boo LeBron James. In fact, cheer him on, give him a standing ovation, allow him to realize how much he is loved in this part of the country.
No. 23 gave Cleveland fans arguably their most beloved sports moment in their life. Don’t forget that. Add in what he has done for NorhYes, he moved on and left Cleveland again, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t (or shouldn’t) love him. Thanks for everything, King.