Osman, Sexton shine as Cavs’ summer continues

Cavaliers swingman Cedi Osman is most likely to start the game vs. the Lakers defending friend and mentor LeBron James.

It’s pretty apparent the Cleveland Cavaliers’ summer-league squad is having some fun, and honestly, that’s what the summer is all about.

You want to play a little ball, build a little culture and see who may help you down the road.

The Cavs beat the Indiana Pacers 93-88 in Las Vegas on Monday, improving to 2-1 with the elimination round on the horizon. But all that is basically beside the point.

What matters is what the Cavs were actually hoping to see — some strong play from rookie guard Collin Sexton, as well as returnees such as swingman Cedi Osman and center Ante Zizic.

The Cavs received exactly that from Zizic, as he was clearly the best player in the first two games, displaying footwork and fundamentals on the low blocks in compiling averages of 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. He’s also shooting a sizzling 63 percent from the field.

Zizic rested Monday, giving others who hope to earn a spot in training camp a better chance to impress.

Sexton (21 points, four assists) did a nice job of running the team, though he is still very clearly learning on the fly. Athleticism and passion are not an issue. Decision-making at the professional level could still use some work.

And that’s OK. That is what summer league is for.

It’s also for players such as Osman to keep learning, working, improving. He showed he’s quite capable of all, scoring 25 points, grabbing six rebounds and passing for six assists.

“You can tell his swagger, his confidence has grown,” Cavs summer coach James Posey told cleveland.com. “He’s been having a good summer.”

Meanwhile, recently signed two-way big man Billy Preston led the Cavs reserves with 12 points in 21 minutes.

Second-year forward T.J. Leaf paced the Pacers with 20 points, while rookie point guard Aaron Holiday scored 12 points and passed for eight assists.  Both Leaf and Holiday played their college ball at UCLA under Indiana legend Steve Alford. Now, they are key youngsters on a team that has dreams of winning the East.

The Cavs and Pacers now await the playoff seeding to determine their next game. The Vegas league playoffs start Wednesday.

2 Comments on "Osman, Sexton shine as Cavs’ summer continues"

  1. I think the question at this point is whether they should even match a contract offer if Hood gets one or put all their chips on Cedi. He fits the mold of a modern small forward a bit better than Hood in the playmaking department. Some of his passes in summer league have been mid-level Lebron reads. His shot isn’t where Hood’s is (based on last year’s regular season stats), but his form and fluidity looks much improved, especially off the dribble.

    Maybe he could use another year coming off the bench to adjust to the speed of the real NBA, but if they have to match an RFA offer, it probably won’t be very team friendly, and if Cedi starts to clearly outplay Hood (who doesn’t handle competition and uncertainty very well), they’re probably going to have to package an asset to unload Hood’s contract.

    Hood is technically the more known quantity at this point, but Cedi’s timeline also fits better with Sextons. I’d almost consider letting Hood go, holding onto Korver until somebody is willing to give up a lottery-protected 1st round pick so that he can start, but still have Cedi play the bulk of the minutes.

  2. Why not keep both Cedi and Hood? Sexton – Hood – Cedi – Love – Zizic There’s a starting 5 that has some length. Coming off the bench you have Hill – Clarkson – Korver – Nance – TT. In Blowout games you have JR, Holland, Okaro and add a name.

    Hood is a SG. At least that’s how he’s been played so far between his two teams. Cedi is SF. But in this age of nameless positions, if they both can ball, why not start and play them both?

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