Collin Sexton apparently isn’t the most popular player in the Cavaliers locker room.
The 22-year-old guard, who’s in his third season with the Cavs, has reportedly frustrated teammates with his style of play.
“Various Cavs players still grow frustrated by the way Sexton dominates the ball, and opponents taunt them by saying during games, ‘you know he’s not going to pass you the ball,’” according to The Athletic.
Sexton has proven to be a prolific scorer for the 21-43 Cavs and he leads the team with 24.4 points per game this season. He’s also averaging 4.1 assists per game, which ranks 25th among point guards.
Despite longstanding rumors of a strained relationship with his teammates, Sexton has become a core piece of the Cavs’ rebuild — which includes young stars Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro, among others. Garland, who is also a point guard, is averaging 18 points and six assists per game.
Following Monday’s practice, Sexton took it upon himself to address “criticism” amid rumblings of teammate tension.
“Embodying criticism,” Sexton said when asked about the team’s foundation and growth from the beginning of the season to now, according to Cleveland.com. “Like, ‘Alright, he might be screaming at me right here, but there’s a message behind it.’ — Knowing that there’s no bad people on our team and everyone is coming from a good place.”
Sexton continued, “I know everyone’s here to pretty much help, and I want to help others. Whenever I say something, I don’t want them to feel like I’m just trying to show them up or just trying to say something just to say something. I just make sure I come correct and come the right way.”
He went on to describe the culture and standards Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff put in place early on this season.
“Only one end goal and that’s to win. No one is trying to show each other up. J.B. [Bickerstaff] established that from the get-go and established at the beginning of the season that everyone is here to get better and if you have something to say, make sure you tell it in a way that’s coming off genuine and from the heart,” Sexton said.
Sexton, the No. 8 pick of the 2018 NBA draft, is eligible for an extension this offseason.
There are rumblings that Kevin Love is growing frustrated with team, though he’s denied any issues between him and the organization.
“I feel like we have such a good rapport now,” Love said after Monday’s practice, Cleveland.com reported. “We tell each other what to look for. Sometimes it’s just to get either one of us out of our heads. I think it goes both ways, because he knows the game. I mean, Collin is always locked in.”
Love also praised Sexton’s openness to asking questions and his ability to lighten the mood in the locker room.
“I love how infectious it is to be around him because he just loves the game and chases it so much… But again, I laugh cuz nobody knows how funny he is,” Love said. “He’s really, really funny. And I appreciate being able to keep it light even when things are tough right now.”
Love — who has two years and $60 million left on his contract — is the only remaining veteran from the Cavs’ 2016 championship team, that included LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland hasn’t made a playoff appearance since James’ departure in 2018, and they’re looking at their third straight season with the same outcome. The Cavs are currently No. 13 in the Eastern Conference.
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