It was never going to be an easy year for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their best player, LeBron James, left for the Los Angeles Lakers, and although management wanted to try to keep a modicum of talent on the roster, any kind of success looked difficult to obtain.
JR Smith wants to be traded, Kevin Love has already undergone surgery, and reports this week are that Kyle Korver requested a trade back in the summer because he did not feel he was a part of the Cavaliers’ dysfunction.
On Sunday, a report from The Athletic said that Cavaliers veterans are not exactly high on the No. 8 overall pick from June’s draft, Collin Sexton.
Via The Athletic:
It’s becoming increasingly clear that when you hear a Cavs veteran talk about younger players not knowing their role, or knowing how to win, or what to do on the court, they mean Sexton. Throughout the organization, the line on Sexton is that he does not “know how to play.”
At one point during Saturday’s game, veteran starting point guard George Hill told Sexton he’d teach him how to play defense. Only, there is little confidence in the locker room that Sexton will listen to him. Remember when I wrote during the preseason that the Cavs’ players loved Sexton? Well, that was true then. And they don’t think he’s a bad guy now. They know he’s 19 and he only played one year of college ball. They still think he’s a nice kid. But they see his deficiencies, they know he’s going to be on the court, and they’re discouraged when after these losses, he doesn’t seem bothered by them.
It takes time for rookies to get up to speed in the NBA, but the most worrying concern is perhaps the last line in that paragraph. If Sexton doesn’t see the need to get better, or doesn’t appear to have a drive the way that veterans need him to, it could create a larger rift between the rookie and the older guys on the team.
It’s extremely early in the Sexton’s career, so there’s no need for panic. The guy is 19, after all. But this is the kind of thing you would expect to come out of Cleveland, and will be something to keep an eye on as the season goes on.