The Hawks built a team around Trae Young
The Cavs don’t see Collin Sexton as being as good as Trae Young. In fact, the entire league seems to share that thought process. More Lou Williams than Young, Sexton was never the Cavs’ guy. So why was he taken? Who knows, maybe like with the Heat drafting Shabazz Napier, The Cavs hoped they could lure LeBron James to stay with the shiny new rookie.
It didn’t work.
There are rumors of various members of the team having issues with him. Sexton and Darius Garland aren’t exactly an in-sync duo, so it seems like one of them is going to go bye (bye-bye). Yet, the Cavs really don’t see Garland as the guy either, because they drafted Kevin Porter after him, with a thought that Porter could be the top prize. Then they drafted Isaac Okoro the next year, a piece that didn’t compliment anyone but the Cavs’ defense.
Even then, it wasn’t a great fit.
The Hawks got Young in a trade with the Mavericks, where he was taken fifth. The same spot Darius Garland was taken a year later. The Hawks immediately gave Young another shooter in Kevin Huerter, who can spread the floor. Then they drafted two mid-range scorers who can get points inside with Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter. Then they added a defensive-minded rebounder in Onyeka Okongwu after they got all their offense in place. They also acquired Clint Capela for next to nothing and then landed two big shooters in Danillo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic via free agency.
They kept their roster clear of heavily loaded salaries to be able to make these moves. They made sure they were flexible and when the time was right, they made moves to make Young a star.
The Cavs did everything the Hawks did, but not really. They traded all the talent that would compliment Sexton, they locked guys to bad contracts so they had no cap flexibility, they made zero bold trades – instead opting to take guys who had no real value and any free agent the team seemed to land, were traded away for valuable second-round picks.
Because the second round is where you find franchise stars.
Even if Sexton isn’t the guy, the Cavs should’ve still tried to see what he could do with a team built for him. Instead, the Cavs just threw a bunch of players together and went “Yeah, that’ll work”, and then left to go home.