Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton has learned from his mistakes during his first NBA season, adjusting as the year progresses and becoming more comfortable in late-game situations.
As noted by Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Sexton had several teachable moments earlier in the season that included getting his shot blocked late in Chicago, having a couple scoreless fourth quarters and more.
However, since the beginning of March, Sexton has managed to raise his play to a different level. By scoring 25 points in the team’s win over Milwaukee on Wednesday, he became the first rookie to score 23 or more points in seven consecutive games since Tim Duncan in 1998. No other rookie in Cavaliers history has ever achieved the feat.
“I think that has been a big help to him,” coach Larry Drew said, according to Fedor. “I think failure can be one of your best teaching tools. I really believe that with Collin because he has had the opportunity to sit over there and watch late in the game and also been in situations where he has been out there late, and it’s not always going to turn out positive, but the most important thing is you learn from it. I think as we have progressed through this season he has done that. Think he has learned a great deal being out there, whether it comes up positive or negative at the end.”
The Cavs have mostly been hammered with injuries this season, holding the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 19-53. Nevertheless, the impressive late-season play from Sexton has been viewed as a positive for the young team focused on its future, bringing a different level of tenacity on both ends of the floor as the campaign winds down.
There’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Kawhi Leonard has been everything the Raptors could’ve hoped for when they traded for him last summer, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star opines. Leonard has averaged a career-high 27.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 52 games, shooting 49.6% from the floor and 37.0% from deep with his usual stellar defense. His production on both ends is a key reason why the Raptors have already clinched a playoff berth with a 51-21 record this season.
- Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. won’t shy away from recruiting free agents to Chicago in the summer, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “Of course,’’ Porter Jr. said. “Like I said, we’re going in the right direction, and once we continue to build and continue to grow here, I think when the league sees what we’re trying to do, people will want to join, for sure.’’ Chicago sports a talented young core alongside Porter that includes Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
- The sudden turnaround of the Pistons might be Dwane Casey‘s greatest coaching job yet, Sean Deveney writes for Sporting News. Casey, who was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year last season, joined the Pistons in the summer and is in his first season with the franchise. Detroit is 14-6 since the start of February, working with the star tandem of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond to generate success.