(Featured pre-pandemic photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
The all-star break is fast approaching for the NBA, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are likely looking forward to the time off.
This season has not been a particularly kind one to the Cavs, but there have been some shining moments for the team–a team that was not expected to come in and compete for a title this year.
They are still rebuilding from the departures of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and some of the talent they have acquired since their departures are starting to blossom.
In particular, this season has seen the rise of the “Sexland” duo in the backcourt. The duo made up of Colin Sexton and Darius Garland, shows up for the future of the Cavs.
Sexton, a third-year player from Alabama, is averaging career highs in points, assists, three-point percentage, and steals. He might not be the biggest name on the team, as that honor likely goes to LeBron-era holdover Kevin Love, but he is the statistical leader of this Cavs team.
Sexton is also the most likely of those on the Cavs roster to make this year’s all-star game. The latest all-star voting returns have Sexton in seventh place among guards in the eastern conference with over 350,000 votes so far.
The other part of the “Sexland” duo is Darius Garland. The second-year player has seen a statistical bump across the board and is third on the team in PPG (points per game) behind only Sexton and Andre Drummond.
Drummond isn’t a name that Cavs fans should get too attached to. The team has announced the big man will sit out until the team finds a trade partner. Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 PPG and 13.5 rebounds will likely net the Cavs something nice in return for his services.
As to where Drummond will end up, right now, it is anybody’s guess. Drummond is a hot commodity among NBA teams, and a large number of teams will at least check in with Cleveland to see what his asking price is.
The Cavaliers’ current schedule takes them through early March and the all-star break, and the second half of the schedule will be released at a later date.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, the second half of their schedule, no matter who they play, will likely be more of the same for this team. In reality, this team is far away from being a real contender, but slowly the pieces are starting to fall into place for this organization.
After former head coach John Beilein’s rocky tenure, the Cavs seem to have found themselves a coach in J.B. Bickerstaff. Bickerstaff has his work cut out for him to get the most out of this team for the remainder of the season after the all-star break.
This team is not one that is particularly known for its defense, but it surely will not be getting any better following the impending Andre Drummond trade. The current rankings are not pretty, with the Cavs offensively ranking one from the bottom, only behind the New York Knicks. Defensively it is not much better, sitting 21 out of 30.
This is not the Cavaliers’ year, but it wasn’t supposed to be. They are showing the growth that all rebuilding teams are looking for, and with a good coach, and a good backcourt in place, this Cavs team should continue to improve over time.