Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton a ‘Moneyball’ type player

Cleveland Cavaliers Collins Sexton (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Collins Sexton (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard Collin Sexton is playing like a key piece of the Cavs future, due to a significant change in shot selection.

Collin Sexton looked like a swing and a miss with the eighth pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, but his turnaround has been a pleasant surprise and has been well documented on the ground floor of the Factory of Sadness.

Others are paying attention now too, with the analytics gurus over at giving the rookie the data treatment.’s Terry Pluto recently said it best when he called Sexton a “Moneyball” type player.

For the year, Sexton is averaging 16.4 points and 2.3 assists per game. He’s shooting 41. 4 percent from 3-point range. He even broke Kyrie Irving’s record for the most 3-pointers made in a season.

Sextons’ turnaround can be attributed to better shot selection. His efficiency has increased due to better shot selection. Basically, he’s quit shooting mid-range jumpers and now either drives to the rip or launches up a three. writer Chris Herring noted Sexton’s taken 128 contested 2-point jump shots, converting on just 34 percent (really bad).

The transformation is night and day when looking at the splits:

"“Sexton 1.0 (before the All-Star break) was taking 39 percent of his attempts from midrange….Sexton 2.0 has been a completely different player. Since mid-February, more than 70 percent of Sexton’s shots have been from Moreyball areas,” Herring wrote.”"

Most importantly, he’s making more of the shots he takes, which is something he’s worked on considerably this season. The Alabama product takes 300-to-500 shots after practices and 100- 200 shots after some games, according to Pluto.

From October through February, he averaged just under three 3-point attempts per game and made 39 percent of those shots. February is the outlier though, as his 3-point attempts skyrocketed to about 5.6 attempts per contest from 3.5 per game in January.

In March, he’s averaging a career high 5.7 shots from beyond the arc and he’s converting a 46.3 clip. To jump up roughly six percentage points is a huge deal.

• The Cavs were also linked to Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander before the draft.  He’s averaging 10.5 points and 3.2 assists per game and shooting 36.5 percent from downtown.

He’s shooting 55 percent from beyond the arc for the month of March, but he’s only taking, on average, two attempts per game. He’s had some real bust months as well from long range, shooting 18.5 percent from 3-point range in January and 34.5 percent in February.

• The Cavs were also tied to Trae Young. He’s averaging 19.0 points and 7.9 assists per game but shooting just 33.5 percent from downtown. He’s averages about 6-7 3-pointers per game. No many would’ve pegged Sexton to be a better 3-point shooter than Young coming out of the draft.

Michael Porter Jr., a player I banged the drum for the Cavaliers to draft, has basically red shirted this season with injuries. He’s practicing in 3-on-3 games, but the Nuggets are likely to keep him out for the season. Before the injuries, Porter was projected to be the No. 1 pick. He fell all the way to Denver at No. 14. He’s played just three games in the last two seasons.

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• Sexton made headlines for not being invited to the Rookie challenge during NBA All-Star challenge and I applauded the decision. I wanted him to “earn it” after basically being given the starting job so early in the season and doing nothing to warrant the promotion. The hard work appears to be paying off. Let’s hope it keeps trending that way.