The three keys to Collin Sexton’s NBA leap

Collin Sexton had Kevin Durant on an island, sizing him up. After dancing with the ball for seven dribbles inside the arc, Sexton hoisted a contested elbow fallaway that missed everything.

“Too close in, [Durant is] able to use his length to pretty much know when I’m going to shoot it,” Sexton said after watching that March 2019 clip. “Now, I’m playing into his hands basically.”

Nearly two years later, Sexton again had Durant isolated at the top of the key. This time, the Cleveland Cavaliers were up five in double overtime thanks to a flurry of Sexton buckets down the stretch. Sexton tested Durant with the drive, retreated back beyond the 3-point line and lined up a hesitation pull-up triple with Durant on his heels.

“I see he’s back behind the 3-point line,” Sexton said. “I get my feet set and just let it go.”

The shot fell, and Sexton finished the win with 42 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 38 minutes. While the Cavs have hit a snag since sweeping the Nets in Brooklyn to move to 6-4, Sexton is playing the best basketball of his career. In his third season, the Cavs guard has evolved into one of the most dynamic young scorers in the league.

Sexton has always been capable of big scoring nights, but how exactly has the No. 8 overall pick in 2018 slowed down his offensive attack, upped his efficiency and turned himself into a positive for the Cavs on both ends?

Over a virtual film session, Sexton and I broke down the specifics of the progression that helped him level up in the NBA.

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