Clippers coach not surprised by Collin Sexton’s ascent because he used to have to ‘kick him out’ of gym

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Former Cleveland Cavaliers head Tyronn Lue indicated that the continued improvement of Collin Sexton comes as no surprise, considering he had to tamp down Sexton’s voracious work ethic by kicking him out of the team’s gym when he use to coach the Cavs.

“Not at all because he’s a hard worker,” Lue said before Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers. “From summer league of his first year to when we got to preseason to the six games that I coached, his shot got better and better. Now he’s really shooting the basketball well from midrange and from 3, so he’s really improved that. Scoring the basketball was his thing when he came out of college and he’s doing it at a high level right now.”

Sexton was drafted in June 2018 by the Cavs, but only had Lue as his head coach for six games before Lue was fired following the team’s 0-6 start.

Now in his third year, Sexton has played under four different head coaches with the Cavaliers, but is now developing into the All-Star caliber player the team envisioned. He’s averaging 24.3 points, 4.1 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game for each of his 17 games this season.

During Sexton’s bumpy first two seasons in the NBA, critics pounced on his lack of assists, but Lue pointed out that Sexton’s dedication is now paying dividends for the Cavaliers through better court awareness.

“He’s really taken a step forward in that department as well — reading the pick-and-roll and making plays and passes, seeing different plays when they’re developing,” Lue said. “That’s the kind of player he is. He’s a hard worker. He’s determined. When I was here, we had to kick him off the court and kick him out of the gym because he was doing too much. That’s just the person he is. He’s dedicated. He wants to be great and you can see the results from that right now.”

Lue has been aware of Sexton’s talents since the guard’s high school days and Sexton is thankful for their continuing connection.

“He’s always gonna be that one guy who helped me along the way and helped me become the player I am,” Sexton said. “He’s been following me for a minute. He just told me to keep going and just continue to work, continue to get better.”

Lue’s Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Cavaliers, 121-99, with the Cavs hoping to get back on the winning track on Friday night in the first of back-to-back games with the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.