Changing your thoughts and opinions after careful research and thoughtful pondering on the topic is something that we all should be doing. Changing your stance should not be considered flip-flopping or carry any of the crazy stigmas that it often brings with it. So I’m here today to announce I am changing my position: I am a Collin Sexton fan. It has been a bumpy ride, but let’s go through my experience with the Young Bull and why I’m now a fan of what he’s doing.
Let it be first and foremost put forth that I am not a basketball guy. I understand the stats, I can appreciate a well-played team, working like a finely tuned machine, LeBron is the best player, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are great individual players but are the enemy for being on Golden State…I get all the prerequisites. But I am functionally a baseball/football guy. That being said, three of my closest friends are all big basketball fans. Every year they get together and go see a Cavs game. This year I accompanied them to the January 5th matchup facing the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis. I had been wary of Sexton, as was pretty much all of Cleveland, throughout the draft process, the early season, everything. The game itself was mostly unmemorable, Davis barely had a double-double, Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle ate the Cavs meager defense for lunch and dinner, the fans didn’t get excited until literally the last two minutes of the game when it became apparent that they could get free nuggets for eclipsing 100…which they did not.
My biggest takeaway was Sexton looked raw. I made the comment to my friends that it appeared as though this obviously fictitious scenario had taken place: Sexton had never seen the game of basketball, that someone had seen him running on a treadmill, was impressed at his speed and athleticism, and grabbed him up, put him in a room and taped his eyes open, Manchurian Candidate style, and made him watch 10 hours of basketball prior to tipoff, then gave him shorts and sneakers and told him to go do his best. His 15 points on 41.7% shooting and 40% from three were decent enough that you could see untapped potential there but there just seemed to be no way for Sexton to reach it without reps. Boy have things changed.
Smash cut to today. Sexton is in the middle of a seven-game stretch1 where he has scored at least 23 points in every game, is shooting 56.5% from three, and is showing off enough progression in his game to make me and most of the league think he is more building block than bust. Yes, this is a lottery team, and somebody has to score the points, as Jordan Clarkson and his 25 points in last night’s win over the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks prove. But the efficiency from three and shooting percentages from not only deep but in the lane and short-range is what is making me a believer in Sexton.
He may never be a pass-first point guard in the mold of a younger Chris Paul or Mike Conley, but that’s ok! Neither are Kyrie Irving or Russell Westbrook and while Sexton still has a lot to do to get into those discussions, it is no longer out of the question that he could reach there. Whatever happened to Collin, whether it be a change in his shot, work in the gym tirelessly practicing and honing his shot, or maybe he DID strap himself in a chair and watch hours and hours of game film, he no longer looks lost on the hardwood, and that makes this casual fan excited.
Rant of the (Every Other) Week
Why in the world is MLB playing games at 5:30 am EST a week before everyone else in the bigs have Opening Day? I get the idea of cultural integration and the ovation Ichiro Suzuki got from his home country is amazing, but most everyone had no idea the games were on. As I’m finishing writing this, it’s the seventh inning of a 4-4 game…more people should be aware that this is going on! Yesterday was a 9-7 club fest with five home runs, including a grand slam! I knew it was going on because I’m a baseball-starved fan and I have a few Athletics and/or Mariners on my fantasy teams, but few others around the sport were woke to the thought that you could watch baseball yesterday and this morning before the coffee hits your bloodstream. So while I enjoyed a banana and a cup of coffee and got my daughter started on her first taste of baseball, please don’t do early games like this anymore. It’s mostly dumb.