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If Collin Sexton remains with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his college coach believes he will be a good addition playing alongside LeBron James, if the team’s superstar decides to remain in Cleveland.
Appearing on ESPN’s “First Take” television show, Alabama coach Avery Johnson was a guest and spoke about his former star point guard, taken by the Cavaliers with the eighth overall selection in the NBA draft Thursday night.
“Collin is a player that can take a lot of pressure off of LeBron,” Johnson said. “I thought that the Cavs would make it back to the Finals without Kyrie Irving but I knew it would be tough for them to win the championship without Kyrie.
“As great as LeBron is on the floor and all of his different exploits — playing in every game this year, 51-point games, triple-doubles, he’s a great teammate — but he needs somebody else that can create their own shot, he needs somebody else that can take some pressure off of him and Collin is an unbelievable offensive player. But at the same time, he plays both sides of the ball. he’s really good defensively.
“I would say ‘Hey, give this young man a chance. At least stay one more year, LeBron. We’d love to see y’all play together.’”
Johnson, a longtime NBA player for former NBA head coach, was asked what fans should expect to see if James does come back to the Cavaliers and teams up with Sexton next season.
“Well, the main thing is here’s a kid that almost won a game for us at the Barclays Center when we were playing three against five. I mean, this kid can really get his shot off against anybody,” Johnson said. “You know, if you had a player like LeBron, he could take four, five offensive possessions off and this kid can score the basketball. He’s a three-level player, he can get three-point plays at the basket.”
Johnson said Sexton has an old-school game that fits in the modern era, as well.
“He’s kinda got that old Isiah Thomas from the Detroit Pistons mid-range game he’s a much-improved 3-point shooter, he’s a much-improved passer and playmaker,” he said. “So when you have somebody that can take a lot of pressure off of you, I know he’s only 19, but this kid is an unbelievable high-level offensive player.”
Despite his scoring ability for the Crimson Tide, Sexton was not regarded as a great shooter. Johnson was asked if Sexton will be able to shoot the basketball well enough to keep NBA defenders honest.
“Absolutely,” Johnson answered, without hesitation. “Off the dribble, Collin was really a good 3-point shooter. One of the things we really needed him to improve on was just his spot-up three’s when somebody else creates a 3-point shot for him.”
Johnson said Sexton’s ceiling is basically through the roof.
“But again, the kid just turned 19 in January, he’s gonna be great. I know the focus is on the 3-point line, he’ll be able to make the NBA three,” he said. “He’ll be able to shoot 90 percent from the free-throw line also. But again, getting three-point plays at the basket.
“This kid is the fastest player that I’ve coached or seen go end-to-end with the basketball. This kid is fast with and without the ball and he has a high-level competitive spirit where he’s not going to be afraid of the big stage at the biggest moments of the game.”