Report: Tyronn Lue Gave Collin Sexton Limited Minutes to Protect Him From Kyrie Irving Comparisons

Report: Tyronn Lue Gave Collin Sexton Limited Minutes to Protect Him From Kyrie Irving Comparisons
Collin Sexton shows he knows how to play in the NBA
Cleveland rookie Collin Sexton has proven everybody wrong, Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said, including, apparently, some of the NBA teams veteran players.

Drew was talking about Sextons ability to score from the outside, a concern of scouts as he entered the NBA Draft from Alabama. But the comment also could apply to the early perceptions of some of his teammates.

Drew took over the Cavs on Oct. 28, when Cleveland fired Tyronn Lue and elevated Drew from assistant to interim head coach.

Though he didn’t start right away, Sexton has become an increasingly important member of Cleveland’s rotation. He’s often the fastest player on the court, and his gritty defense causes a lot of problems for opposing sides. Without a doubt, his game is improving.

On Nov. 3, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported Clevelands veterans said the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft didnt know how to play.

I actually pulled some of the guys aside when we were in Orlando (on Nov. 5), Drew told That was my exact point — having to be patient with a 19-year-old kid … Just didnt think it was fair at all to go at a 19-year-old kid like that. As I told a couple of the guys, Hey, you were 19 at one point. To step up to this level, Im sure you wouldve been in a situation where you were making mistakes, too. In order for Collin to learn, hes going to have to make mistakes.

Two days later, Sexton was in the Cavaliers starting lineup after George Hill went down with a sprained right shoulder.

“Have you had a moment, once the game started, like, ‘Geez, that’s so-and-so on the other side,” Joe Vardon of The Athletic asked Sexton after Monday morning’s shootaround.

In the first 10 games of his NBA career, Sexton had averaged 10.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.

"I'm just going out there and playing my game."@cavs rookie Collin Sexton doesn't get starstruck when he faces the NBA's elite guards.#BeTheFight

In the eight games that hes been a starter, Sexton has averaged 19.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 33.4 minutes per game.

“Absolutely,” Sexton replied. “It’s always good to go against someone who’s really good, because it brings the best out of you.”

After shooting .407 from the floor and .300 on 3-point attempts as a reserve, Sexton is shooting .508 from the floor and .556 on 3-point attempts as a starter.

“But even in college, were you inspired when you went against the better players?” Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal chimed in to ask Sexton.

I think for any young player that comes into the league, and whatever the scouting report may be against that guy, theyre going to play you and force you to prove them wrong, Drew said. “And I think certainly Colin is starting to open eyes as far as his ability to make shots on the perimeter. I think the scouting report on him was to go underneath him on the screen and roll. …

“Not at all,” Sexton calmly replied. “Because we play pickup against NBA players and stuff like that.”

“If you try to take away what you perceive to be a weakness of his, hes going to try to prove you wrong. Thus far, he has certainly proven people wrong about their ability to defend him in the pick and roll. If they continue to go underneath him, Im going to encourage him to take that shot.”

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If they give it to me, Im going to take it, Sexton said. My teammates have confidence in me in taking the shot and making it, so I feel like if theyre sagging off, I have to be able to knock it down so my teammates can get open shots.

Sexton credited his father, Darnell, for his improvement in shooting, especially on the 3-pointer, over the past month.

My dad helped me to correct certain things I need to improve on, Sexton said. He watches the games all the time, and he knows how I make shots. It was easy for him to correct it. We got in the gym, and we worked on it. I feel like Im shooting a lot better.

Something else thats gotten better is the Cavaliers record since Sexton entered the starting lineup. At 4-14, Clevelands record is still better than only the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, but the Cavs have gone 3-5 with Sexton starting.

Sexton scored 23 points in Clevelands 121-112 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night, then reached a career high with 29 points in the Cavs 117-98 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

When were moving the ball and playing together, I feel like were one of the best teams in the league, Sexton said after Saturdays game.

Cleveland will seek its third consecutive victory when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit Quicken Loans Arena at 6 p.m. CST Monday.

I feel like we found some things were good at, Sexton said after Mondays shootaround, “and we just have to keep working toward those things and make sure we do them each and every game. …

“Were playing a complete game, and we have been playing unselfish. I feel like when were doing that and sharing the ball, its fun to watch and fun to be out there playing.”

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cavaliers (4-14), riding a two-game winning streak, will host the Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11) on Monday night. 

Last meeting: The Cavs lost to the Timberwolves 131-123 in the second game of the season on Oct. 19.

Cavs minute: The Cavs beat the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, their first official winning streak of the season. Both wins came against teams with a winning record … In the two wins, the Cavs are averaging 119.0 points on 50.8 percent from the field. … Cleveland has won five straight games against Minnesota at The Q. … During Saturdays win vs. Houston, the Cavs pulled down a season-best 20 offensive rebounds. Led by Tristan Thompson, the Cavs rank third in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game at 12.7. … Collin Sexton scored a career-high 29 points, making it the first time in his NBA career that Sexton has tallied 20-plus in back-to-back games. … Jordan Clarkson, fourth among NBA reserves in scoring, has piled up double-digits in all 12 of his career matchups against Minnesota. … David Nwaba has scored in double figures in all three of his starts. 

Timberwolves minute: Minnesota has won two straight games, marking its second-longest streak of the season. … The Wolves are 5-2 since trading Jimmy Butler to the 76ers. … Center Karl-Anthony Towns has scored in double figures in 19 of 20 games. The lone single-digit game was the season opener. … The Wolves are 0-4 when scoring less than 100 points this season. …  The Wolves have scored 20 or more points off turnovers in four of their last six. … Minnesota is just 1-8 away from Target Center. … Former Cavs draft pick Andrew Wiggins was held scoreless for the first time in his career during Saturdays win. … Derrick Rose, traded by the Cavs at last years deadline, is averaging 20.1 points on 54 percent shooting and 56.1 percent from 3-point range in the month of November. 

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