Despite a couple of tough losses in the play-in tournament that ended their playoff hopes, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have a bright future.
Still, the Cavs will face a couple of tough personnel decisions this summer, and one of them surrounds guard Collin Sexton.
He will be a free agent, and the organization will have to decide whether it will be worth it to give him a new contract.
Should Cleveland ink Sexton to a long-term contract, or would it be better for the team to let him walk and focus its salary cap resources elsewhere?
Sexton Is An Offensive Spark Plug
Sexton, who has just completed his fourth season out of the University of Alabama, has proven that he can put up points as well as many great players in the National Basketball Association.
Last year, he averaged 24.3 points per game while shooting a solid 47.5 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
That season, he even out-dueled Kyrie Irving one memorable night in Cleveland by scoring 42 points on 16-of-29 shooting in a 147-135 double overtime victory.
COLLIN SEXTON vs the NETS!
— el (@goatzin4) April 11, 2022
Sexton also showed improvement as a playmaker by averaging 4.4 assists per game in 2021.
His quickness, ball-handling skills, and ability to hit from the perimeter make him a tough cover for just about anyone.
He and Garland give the Cavs a backcourt that has the potential to become one of the league’s best on the offensive end.
They could play together for the next decade and continue to be foundational pillars for what fans in Ohio hope will be the Cavs’ next championship team.
But there is a potential problem with a Garland-Sexton backcourt.
Sexton Is Too Small To Be An Effective Defender At His Position
As Garland has emerged, Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff has taken to playing Sexton more and more at the shooting guard position.
The problem is that both he and Garland are only 6-foot-1, which would leave the Cavs vulnerable defensively, especially against bigger guards, no matter how tough Sexton tries to look while playing D.
Collin Sexton with some INTENSE defense 👀 pic.twitter.com/nI24kKHTQC
— Sports Nation Ohio (@SN_Ohio) July 17, 2018
They were one of pro basketball’s best defensive teams this season, ranking seventh in defensive rating and fifth in points allowed, and that prowess is something the team must build on.
But playing such a small backcourt so often will put more pressure on Cleveland’s frontcourt players, such as Mobley and Jarrett Allen, to stop penetration, and there is only so much they can do without compromising the rest of their teammates.
How Much Is He Worth?
Surely, at this point of his career, Sexton may not be quite worth a max contract, but he will command a lot of money on the open market.
Reportedly, president of basketball operations Koby Altman wants to keep both Sexton and fellow guard Caris LeVert, who can become a free agent following next season.
Unlike Sexton, however, LeVert is 6-foot-6, which makes him more equipped to hold his own defensively against bigger guards.
It remains to be seen if Cleveland will be willing to give Sexton a max contract if he demands one this summer.