NBA Most Improved Player Collin Sexton? Whenever I tune in to watch a Cavs game this year, I know that the team is going to play hard. I know that they will give their opponent a run for their money, knowing that there will be bright spots in every game. That hasn’t been the case since LeBron James was last here three years ago.
What I also know now, that all of you do too, is that Collin Sexton is capable of going off. Ever since the latter stages of his rookie season, Collin has been getting buckets. And this year, he’s averaging a career-high 25 points per night, shooting the ball better than 50% from the floor.
Does Collin Sexton have a case for most improved player? Continue reading to find out.
Collin Sexton’s Statistical Improvements
When examining the race for the NBA’s most improved player, it’s critical to see in what areas he improved, and where the player is relatively the same. The most notable areas that Sexton is looking better in would be scoring, going from 20.8 ppg, up to 24.6. He’s gone from 3.0 assists up to 4.3. He shot 47% last season, and through 14 appearances, Sexton is making 50% of his shots overall, and 43% of his threes.
For the first time in his career, the Cavs are outscoring other teams every 100 possessions that Sexton is on the floor for. After being a -12.8 as a rookie and -9.1 as a sophomore, the Cavs are +0.8 per 100 possessions with him on the floor. And his net rating there is a strong +10.8. The team is much better with him in. You don’t need advanced statistics to prove that. Watching the Cavs when Damyean Dotson was the only healthy guard proved just how much the team needs Sexton’s production.
Watching the majority of the Cavs games over the past three years, I’ve personally noticed so much additional growth in Sexton’s game. His decision-making is much better. He’s starting to score at will, and win games for his team with his ability. And, he’s making plays on the defensive end like he hadn’t before.
A big reason for Sexton’s improvement across the board is that the team has a very good coach for the first time in his career. JB Bickerstaff inspires confidence in his players in a way that Larry Drew and John Beilein clearly didn’t.
The NBA Most Improved Player Won’t be Collin Sexton
As fun as it has been to watch Collin Sexton go from underrated to All-Star caliber player, he really doesn’t stand a chance in the award race for most-improved player this year. Perhaps next season, he can sneak onto an All-NBA team if his play continues to rise, but this race already has several promising candidates.
The first, and perhaps strongest candidate has to be Jerami Grant. He turned down a 3-year, $60 million contract from the Nuggets to go to Detroit, who offered an identical sum of money. He has gone from averaging 12 points per game, to averaging 23.6. He’s gone from 3.5 rebounds to 5.9. His assist numbers from 1.2 to 5.9. And he’s doing this playing just nine more minutes.
Gordon Hayward has also had a renaissance in his new home. Now playing for the Hornets, Hayward has gone from averaging 17.5 points per game, to now scoring 23.2 a night. His rebound and assist numbers are slightly down, but he’s shooting 50% from the floor for the second year in a row, in spite of taking nearly four more shots per game. Gordon’s efficiency has been a huge key in his improvement.
And of course, we’ve got Christian Wood. He left Detroit to join the Rockets, and has been having an All-Star caliber campaign. Wood has gone from averaging 13 points, up to about 24 a game, like Grant. He went from 6.3 rebounds per game to 10.7. And he’s blocking 1.6 shots a night. Wood is also shooting 54% from the floor, and hitting 38% of the 4.7 threes he takes per game.
Sexton has had a very strong season, but the other three guys are just too good.
Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Collin Sexton
The improvement in Sexton’s game has been beautiful to watch this season, but he still has a lot left to show. His assist numbers should continue to grow. His ability to score 30 on almost any given night is incredible to see.
And Sexton will be leading the Cavs to playoff wins before too long. The Cavs will lose a lot of games this year. They’ll also win some that surprise many viewers. But, they’re growing. Cleveland is a bit farther along in their rebuild than initially expected.
Don’t take your eyes off of Collin Sexton. His big season is only beginning, and his Cavs are a very fun group to watch.