Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton didn’t start off his NBA career in the most impressive fashion, but he sure has turned a lot of heads as of late.
While experts were discussing the possibility of him being destined for the title of lottery bust earlier this season, he is now playing a lot like a future star.
Thanks to that turnaround, Sexton recently spoke with Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com about his belief that he deserves to be named to the All-Rookie First Team.
“Have you watched the game? If you’re really into the game of basketball then you know I deserve it because of the growth I’ve shown and all the things I’ve overcome this year,” Sexton said. “I feel like I deserve to be on it.”
He also admitted that that honor was one of his goals coming into his rookie season.
“That was one of my goals,” Sexton admitted in a sit-down interview with cleveland.com at the team’s hotel in Beverly Hills. “Would mean a lot. A tremendous accomplishment because there’s only five. It just shows all the hard work you’ve put in the entire season.”
While the honor will of course be decided by performances throughout the year, recency bias could play a strong role. If that’s the case, Sexton almost surely deserves to be named to the All-Rookie squad.
Doncic, the assumed Rookie of the Year award winner has averaged 21.8 points and 6.8 assists per game in March. Young, another rookie who struggled early only to explode onto the scene after the All-Star break, is averaging 24.2 points and 8.9 assists per game in that same month. Sexton has been on a scoring tear as of late and is currently averaging 22.4 points and 2.7 assists per game in the same time frame.
While his production isn’t quite as high compared to the other two star rookies, it would be hard to find a player who has taken so many leaps in his first season in the league. In fact, Sexton’s teammate Larry Nance Jr. reflected on just that.
“Leaps and bounds,” Nance said to cleveland.com when asked about how much Sexton has grown since the first few months. “He came in in a 3-point shooting league taking 10 pull-up 2s per game. And it’s like, ‘Alright that’s not going to cut it here.’ So now you see he’s taking and making a lot of 3s and we’ve seen his progression build from that. In almost every facet of his game he has gotten better.”
The Cavs have five games left on the schedule and Sexton will surely look to finish his first season in the league on a high note.
In the end, his progress from an overwhelmed rookie to a composed blossoming star is the real reward. Being named to the All-Rookie First Team would simply be the cherry on top.