Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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CLEVELAND — Larry Drew has a message for his veteran players: Take it easy on the new guy.
Drew recently took over as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and was referring to Collin Sexton, and a recent report from Joe Vardon of The Athletic that suggested some of the older players have become critical of the rookie point guard.
“I actually pulled some of the guys aside when we were in Orlando,” Drew said Wednesday. “that was my exact point — having to be patient with a 19-year-old kid.”
The Cavs dropped to a league-worst 1-10 following a 95-86 home loss to the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Sexton scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but passed for just one assist in 42 minutes while starting in place of the injured George Hill.
Nonetheless, Drew made sure to remind the team that Sexton is still learning the pro game.
“Just didn’t think it was fair at all to go at a 19-year-old kid like that,” Drew said. “As I told a couple of the guys, hey, you were 19 at one point. To step up to this level, I’m sure you would’ve been in a situation where you were making mistakes too. In order for Collin to learn, he’s going to have to make mistakes.”
Drew added that he wants Sexton to continue to attack and play his game, without feeling the need to look over his shoulder when things go wrong.
“I want him to be aggressive,” Drew said. “I want him to be in attack mode at all time. I don’t want him to be passive. (When) he turns the ball over, I don’t want him thinking about what his teammates think. And I’ve expressed that to the team. We cannot get down on this kid just because he makes mistakes.
“It’s tough enough as it is, coming in that young and to play at this level. We have to embrace him when he does make a mistake,just like we embrace everybody else. It’s not fair for body language to change.”
During one sequence in the second half, Cavs center Tristan Thompson spoke to Sexton after Sexton was whistled for a foul on Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder as Schroder made a layup. Sexton seemed to take the instruction well, but was clearly frustrated when walking away from the conversation.
“He’s a dog,” Thompson told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We always knew he could play.”
Sexton was selected with the No. 8 overall draft pick in June. He is averaging 10.2 points and 2.3 rebounds.