Cleveland Cavaliers interim head coach Larry Drew is trying to get the team’s players to back off rookie Collin Sexton a little.
The Cavs lost at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-86 on Wednesday night to fall to 1-10 this season. There has been a lot of finger pointing going around as the team tries to find itself without LeBron James.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, Drew told some of the team’s players to stop being so critical of Sexton.
The Cavs’ game against Orlando was on Monday, two days after a story by The Athletic’s Joe Vardon was published. In that story, Vardon said veteran Cavs players were critical of Sexton and accused him of not knowing how to play. Sexton was criticized for not knowing how to defend the pick and roll, how to set up his teammates offensively, and for not taking losses hard enough. Keep in mind that Sexton is 19 and only has 11 games of NBA experience.
Many of the Cavs veterans are holdovers from LeBron’s time and are used to playing in the NBA Finals. They’re obviously having a tough time dealing with a rebuilding team that’s giving significant minutes to a 19-year-old.
It may just be Summer League, but don’t tell Collin Sexton that.
During the Cleveland Cavaliers’ semifinal game against the LA Lakers in Las Vegas on Monday, the Cavs rookie put on an impassioned display on the final defensive possession of regulation. Guarding Lakers guard Josh Hart in isolation with the score tied at 98 and just seconds to go, Sexton got into an intense stance with his arms out in front and bared his teeth at his opponent.
Hart would go on to pull up for a three and miss, giving the Cavs the ball back with 1.6 seconds left. While the game eventually went into double overtime where the Cavs lost by the final of 112-109, Twitter loved Sexton’s ferocity.
Cleveland Cavaliers rookie guard Collin Sexton raised some eyebrows by wearing Kyrie Irving’s old No. 2, but Irving isn’t really concerned.
Now with the Boston Celtics, Irving said it’s “cool” that Sexton is wearing the number, and is excited to see him play in the league.
“Go ahead, do what you do. He wanted to wear the number, let him wear the number. It doesn’t matter,” Irving said Monday, via Ian Begley of ESPN. “The story is probably going to the number. But I’m more excited about who [Sexton] is as a player in the league,” Irving added. “The number thing is like, just chalk that up to the game. It’s cool. It’s no hard feelings from my end. He just has to start at the chopping block just like everyone else did. So I’m excited for him.”
Irving wore the number when he hit the game-winning shot to clinch Cleveland’s first and only NBA title, and while he appreciates Cleveland fans who think the number shouldn’t be in circulation thanks to that moment, he thinks his place in history has already been secured.
“The history, it’s already captured, man. I was on one of the best teams in NBA history, in my opinion, just accomplishing something that was that much bigger than ourselves,” Irving said. “A feat that’s — we’re one of no other teams. We’re one of one, in history [to rebound from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit]. So for me, I think the biggest thing is giving that jersey to my dad. If that’s where the No. 2 legacy ends, then cool. Then I’m starting up a new one. No pressure for anyone else.”
Irving appreciates his place in Cavaliers history, but it’s pretty clear he’s left his time in Cleveland in the past. This is just further evidence of that.
The newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers is doing what he can to convince LeBron James to return to the team.
Collin Sexton was drafted No. 8 overall by Cleveland on Thursday. The former Alabama star was asked to make his pitch to LeBron, who is considering opting out of his deal to become a free agent and sign elsewhere.
Sexton said that he recognized LeBron needed some extra pieces and thinks he could help him return to the NBA Finals:
Sexton was an excellent pick by Cleveland. We’re big fans of his ability and think he could do a lot for the Cavs. Unfortunately it does not seem like James is going to return to the Cavs.
With Warriors-versus-Cavs 4.0 in the books, NBA fans are already obsessing over the offseason. Where will LeBron sign? Which other superstars could be on the move? Which contenders will morph into bottom-feeders, and vice versa?
In this wildly unpredictable league, it seems like anything could happen.
Before the July 1 commencement of free agency, however, teams are focused on the draft. Last year’s draft provided immediate-impact players for playoff teams like the Jazz (Donovan Mitchell), Celtics (Jayson Tatum), and Warriors (Jordan Bell). Other rookies, like Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, didn’t play for contenders, but they were starters from day one and had a significant influence on their team’s fortunes.
With this year’s draft fast approaching – it’s slated for Thursday, June 21 – we have identified 10 prospects who are positioned to immediately jump into the rotation and make an impact for their new teams.
10. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova
Brunson will never be a captivating highlight-reel guy. He plays below the rim, and there isn’t much flash in his game. But the guy possesses all the intangibles. He was the unquestioned leader on Jay Wright’s national title squad. Brunson, the Naismith Player of the Year and son of former NBA player Rick Brunson, is only 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, but he has a strong frame; no one is going to push him around. The junior from Illinois also possesses incredible basketball IQ and maturity. Don’t expect him to experience a rough transition to the pro level. He knows what he can and cannot do, and that self-awareness should position him for success.
After weeks of speculation about which teams would squeak in and who would be left out, after Joe Lunardi frantically updated his Bracketology predictions dozens of times, the NCAA Tournament is finally here.
Aside from the shocking upsets, the dramatic buzzer-beaters, and the emergence of unlikely heroes, one of the best parts of the tournament each year is getting the opportunity to watch future lottery picks — many of whom will be one-and-done — compete with each other at the collegiate level. The 2017 tournament included Kansas’ Josh Jackson, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen, and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, among others.
The top 11 picks in the NBA’s 2017 draft were freshmen or international players, and nine of them played in the tournament. One (Gonzaga’s Zach Collins) made it all the way to the Final Four.
So, which future NBA players should you keep an eye on as the tourney gets underway? Which prospects could blossom into household names this March? Here are 10 future lottery picks to watch.
10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
March Madness is once again officially upon us, and the dramatic buzzer-beaters are piling up as players look to lead their teams to NCAA Tournament bids and beyond. For Alabama, it was Collin Sexton who played the role of hero.
With the Crimson Tide trailing Texas A&M by one and 4.4 seconds remaining in their second round SEC Tournament Game, Sexton went coast-to-coast and converted a finger roll at the buzzer.
To make the moment even more dramatic, Sexton’s basket likely punched Alabama’s ticket to The Dance.
A lot of players would have pulled up well beyond the 3-point line, so Sexton deserves a ton of credit for his clock awareness. The Tide may have won yet another college football championship, but they can’t let Nick Saban’s team have all the fun.
Though several teams have already punched their tickets to the NCAA Tournament, the bulk of the major conference tournaments will be played this week. That opens the door for a number of players to really put their stamp on the tournament they’re in. Those players could include ones who have something to prove or star players on team sthat desperately need a win or two to get themselves off the bubble.
Here are ten players who may be particularly motivated to put up strong showings in their conference tournament this week.
1) Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame
Colson and his Notre Dame team both have a lot to prove. Colson missed 15 games with a broken foot, and it was a huge blow to the Irish. They went 6-9 without him, a sharp contrast to the 12-4 record they posted with him in the lineup. One of the nation’s best players, Colson needs to put in a big-time shift in the tournament to fully secure Notre Dame’s at-large spot. Right now, the Irish sit firmly on the bubble and need to win at least one game and probably two. Colson will be motivated to take them there.
2) Trae Young, Oklahoma
The Trae Young hype machine broke down somewhere around the start of the Big 12 campaign, and he went from Player of the Year favorite to a guy scrapping to secure his team’s spot in the NCAA Tournament. What better way to put an exclamation point on his season than a big performance in the Big 12 tournament? Young can take over any game but struggled down the stretch by his standards, averaging 18 points per game over his last four. It’s put-up or shut-up time for him.
Alabama star freshman guard Collin Sexton is still expected to play for the team against Arkansas on Saturday despite being mentioned in the latest FBI report.
Speaking with the media on Friday, Crimson Tide head basketball coach Avery Johnson said he expects Sexton to play in the team’s next game.
“Yes,” Johnson said, via AL.com. “At this time, we anticipate that.”
According to documents obtained by the FBI during their investigation into fraud and bribery between college coaches, agents, financial advisers, and more, Sexton or his family were listed as having a meal with former agent, Christian Dawkins.
Sexton already served a one-game suspension in November from the NCAA relating to charges that appeared in the FBI documentation. Alabama’s athletic director is coordinating with the NCAA on the latest investigation. If the latest mention is no different from what he was previously investigated for — which was a meal — then Alabama and Sexton should be in the clear.
We’ve reached the point in the college basketball season where freshmen are no longer brand new on the scene. At season’s open, true freshmen are fresh-faced first-timers out of high school and onto a new scene. It can take time for coaches to find the right fit and right situation for their players. Now that we have seen half a season of every freshman in college basketball, it’s easier to gauge who will be a factor in March and who can help push their team to a Final Four run. These 10 freshmen have put themselves above the competition and made a name for themselves in 2017-2018.
10. Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State
During a season that has been filled with talk of the Big XII featuring America’s best basketball, Iowa State has been largely left out of the conversation. The Cyclones have been one of the Big XII’s best programs over the last half decade, finishing conference play with a winning record and top 5 finish every year since 2011. This season is a re-focusing year of sorts for Iowa State, but Lindell Wigginton has been a source of hope. The 6-foot-2 Canadian guard has been surprisingly excellent to date, totaling 16.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. His hot shooting, to the tune of 43 percent outside the arc, has helped Iowa State in conference play. In the Cyclones’ last five games, Wigginton is sinking 47 percent of his threes and posting 20 points per game, including a 30-point outing versus Baylor.
9. Wendell Carter Jr., Duke