Can Collin Sexton win Rookie of the Year?

In the (second) post-LeBron era of the Cleveland Cavaliers, newly drafted rookie Collin Sexton will have his chance to shine. The former Alabama point guard definitely has big shoes to fill now that King James is no longer on the roster. But he surely relishes the incredible opportunity that has been handed to him.

Sexton will be tasked with running the offense right off the bat. The Cavs don’t really have another star point guard, aside from George Hill, and they need whatever scoring they can get at this point. Sexton provides an element of athleticism and playmaking ability that will be highly coveted in Cleveland. But it’s more than that. The guy plays with an amazing level of intensity and heart.

As the NBA Summer League rolled on in Las Vegas, people began to recognize Sexton for his talent and fearless attitude. Sexton didn’t really leave them much of a choice. He averaged 19.6 points per game, as well as 3.4 assists per outing. Sure, he needs to improve his field goal percentage of 48 percent, as well as the assist totals, as he will be asked to set up his teammates more often than not. But at just 6’2, he was still able to grab 3.6 rebounds per game.

Overall, this was a successful summer for Sexton. He put himself on the map as far as rookies go. And with LeBron and Kyrie Irving now history in Cleveland, Sexton will be called upon to run the offense. Not many rookies get such an opportunity. But the Cavs don’t have much of choice, and their desperation becomes Sexton’s gains. He has a chance to cement himself as a starting point guard from the onset of his career.

The Cavs still have a solid core of players, with Kevin Love now the centerpiece of this team. They still have other solid contributors including Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson, J.R. Smith, and Larry Nance, Jr. all still in Cleveland, which means he will have ample opportunity to feed them the rock, as well as take on a major role in scoring himself.

Prior to the draft, not many people had much faith in Sexton delivering the goods early in his career. The Cavs thought otherwise, putting their money where their mouth is. And now they appear to be in position to reap the rewards sooner than anyone thought possible. While he remains a longshot to be the top rookie in this class, with highly touted players drafted ahead of him, including Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley, Sexton could flourish due to a combination of talent and opportunity. Vegas has already bumped Sexton up a few notches in the Rookie of the Year odds, currently placing him in fourth place, just behind the top prospects.

As we all saw last year, rookies appear more ready than ever to come in and play dominant basketball in their first season. Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum were among the most dominant players in the entire league last season, with the latter two keeping pace with the NBA’s best players, even deep in the playoffs. Taytum went head-to-head with LeBron, and didn’t even blink. So who’s to say Sexton can’t do the same?