The Cavs apparently don’t need Collin Sexton to win

Cavs (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Cavs (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Cavs are performing just fine without Collin Sexton.

The Cavs may not have a better record without Collin Sexton, but they’re playing tougher opponents and have played them incredibly well. While it’s hard to say they’re better without him, the defense is much improved and the team is hurting for scoring points when they aren’t down an additional four or five prominent players.

With Sexton, the team defeated The Clippers, Hornets, Nuggets, Hawks, Trailblazers, Raptors, and Knicks. Some good teams but not the cream of the crop. If Sexton was the difference-maker he was touted as, then the team wouldn’t be able to defeat better talent without him, right?

Granted, during his turn with the injury bug, the Cavs dealt with not having Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, and Evan Mobley for spells; plus a game or two without Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland, so it’s not a fair sample but without Sexton; but the Cavs defeated Dallas, Boston, Orlando, and Detroit. They also took the Nets, Warriors, Suns, and Celtics to the limit without most of their best players. Allen missed three of those games, and the other two they lost by a combined 10 points. That’s very impressive. 

With Sexton, the team averaged 106. 3points per game, against some mediocre teams, while giving up 104.9 points per game as well. Without Sexton (and Markkanen, Allen, Garland, Love, etc) the Cavs averaged 100.9 points per game, while only giving up 100 points per game. That was against much higher competition and while missing several key players.

What does that tell us about Collin Sexton and his fit with the Cavs?

The Cavs may be missing some of Sexton’s scoring ability since his injury but the team also lost its best three-point shooters for a stretch after his injury and then lost out on Jarrett Allen. So it’s hard to say for sure what the team can do offensively. We saw them destroy the Mavericks with their core group intact, so it’s possible that the Magic and Mavericks games are closer to what fans should expect offensively.

Defensively, however, the Cavs are improved with Isaac Okoro in the starting lineup and not Collin Sexton. Using guys like Okoro, Ricky Rubio, and shockingly enough, Dean Wade and Markkanen have all performed incredibly well. Especially Wade and Okoro. Granted having Mobley playing alongside Allen has certainly helped.

Sexton’s lack of defense is notable but what RAPTOR is showing is that Sexton’s negative presence on the defense wasn’t the biggest issue. We know that the Cavs weren’t scoring well immediately after Sexton’s injury but that could be contributed to the four or five other injuries the team suffered or was dealing with at the same time.

What is a bit shocking is that according to RAPTOR not only was Sexton the second least effective defensive player behind Garland but that as of press time, no other Cavalier actively hurt the Cavs offense as badly as Sexton.

With a team-low -3.9, no other is currently posting as negative of a showing offensively as Sexton. Not only that but eight of Sexton’s teammates, the majority of the ones getting minutes, are all plus in either offense or defense. Only Sexton was both a negative in offense and defense.

Sexton has a place on this team, maybe. If the team actually gets a winning record, makes the playoffs, and can cause some damage while in the playoffs, then the team may actually move on from Sexton. Team chemistry has proven to be far more valuable than an individual in the NBA, and unless Sexton can find a role on the bench akin to Love’s, there’s no reason to bring Sexton back.

Now, if the team implodes and they win 25 games, then let’s just pretend this conversation never happened.

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