Luka Doncic needs offensive help, and that is no secret.
The harder part of the equation is deducing who that help is going to be at the start of the 2021 NBA season. But with the Cleveland Cavaliers indicating that Collin Sexton is available via trade, the question becomes should the Dallas Mavericks pursue Sexton as the secondary scorer going forward?
What Sexton offers offensively:
Sexton can score the ball at will. The 22-year-old guard put together his most impressive season to date. He averaged 24.5 points per game, 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds. He also shot 47 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three.
His efficient shooting splits made him the 16th player in NBA history to average 24 or more points on a true shooting percentage of 57 or higher at age 22 or younger last season. Every other player on that list went on to be an All-Star at some point in their career.
Currently, on the Mavericks’ roster, there is no other guard – outside of Doncic – that can score with the same tenacity and efficiency as Sexton. His addition would be a welcomed offensive upgrade.
Can Sexton fit within an offensive system:
The elephant in the room is whether Sexton can play within the offensive system without divulging into iso-ball when he’s on the floor. Here is the answer — yes.
In Cleveland, Sexton took a lot (18.4 on average) of shots. And at times, his effervescent offensive green light has rubbed teammates the wrong way, but it was out of necessity. The Cavaliers roster was bad. And it only got worse with numerous injuries to key rotation players as the season wore on. On bad teams, someone has to score. On the Cavs, that someone was Sexton.
Additionally, what’s impressive is that Sexton scored efficiently without a consistent secondary option once the offense broke down. He relentlessly attacked the rim. He took open shots. And he didn’t hesitate to play downhill. Typically, with “empty” stats players, the indicators are found in their efficiency. With Sexton, that is not the case, and it should be encouraging.
In Dallas, it’s easy to see Sexton sliding in alongside Doncic in the backcourt. Sexton can punish teams that choose to double-team Doncic with his consistent outside jump shot. And when the ball is in his hands, he can create a shot for himself around the basket. It will be a pick your poison affair for opposing teams’ defenses.
Efficient scorers are hard to find in the NBA. Sexton is one of them. And now, he’s available because Cleveland doesn’t want to sign his extension. With Sexton, Dallas quells its glaring need for a consistent secondary scorer to couple with Doncic in the backcourt.
What is Sexton’s market:
The most aggressive team aiming for Sexton’s services is the New York Knicks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
They are expected to make a move at some point near the draft or after, but it remains unclear whether Sexton to New York is a forgone conclusion. And with the ambiguity surrounding his destination, it is not out of the realm of plausibility that Dallas throws its hat in the ring.
There is no doubt that Cleveland expects a substantial return for Sexton. But due to the lack of leverage the Cavs have, in part to Sexton’s contract situation, his value has dipped to teams around the league.
Still, looking at the asset cupboard for the Mavericks, it remains somewhat bare. At best, a trade deal surrounding Kristaps Porzingis would be the Mavericks’ bet at acquiring the young point guard. Both players’ contracts are viewed as somewhat distressed assets, and a change of scenery for each player may be beneficial. However, a deal involving Porzingis could force the Mavericks to take Kevin Love’s contract back in return. Forcing the question of, is it worth it?
The outlook for the Mavs and Sexton:
Sexton provides a secondary scorer to Dallas. And his arrival would be a welcomed upgrade over what the Mavericks currently have outside of Doncic. But a deal between Cleveland and Dallas looks like a long shot at this point for both teams.
With no draft assets or favorable contracts to send in return, adding Sexton, who’s expected to get paid, will limit the Mavericks’ flexibility in the future. And though Sexton is a gifted scorer, it remains unproven whether he can help lead a team to a winning record and a deep playoff run as a top-three player on a roster.
Regardless, what remains known is that Sexton gives Dallas another volume scorer. And when the name of the game is ‘getting buckets,’ having someone that can do so on any given night is never a terrible thing.
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Feature image via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports.