Is Collin Sexton selfish or passionate?

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Collin Sexton #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates in the 81-63 win over the Auburn Tigers during the quarterfinals round of the 2018 SEC Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 9, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Collin Sexton #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates in the 81-63 win over the Auburn Tigers during the quarterfinals round of the 2018 SEC Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 9, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

In December, many considered Collin Sexton a top-10 pick and discussed whether he was better than the crafty and dazzling Trae Young. Since than, major questions have bubbled up surrounding the 6-foot-1 point guard and several draft boards place him just outside the lottery.

He plays full tilt and piles up stats, but does he make his teammates better? Sexton is passionate and wears it on his sleeve. He wants to win. It remains to be seen how much his play actually contributes to that.

Assessing Sexton is to wade into contradictions. A loose offensive system at Alabama made matters more difficult to interpret. He might have been better with more shooters and creators, but perhaps his stats were inflated by the openness. He boasts a 6-foot-7 wingspan even though he lacks height and weight.

What are we to make of Sexton?

Sexton is at his best with the ball in his hands in transition. Some of this ability is displayed in his remarkable rate of 7.6 fouls drawn per 40, good for seventh in the country. His speed with the ball in the open floor is elite and creates separation. Preferring his right, he is not afraid to put it in his left and finish with either hand.

The dual threat of Sexton passing the ball and attacking the rim makes him a source of chaos in the open court. In odd-man rushes, it may feel as a lose-lose to those defending against him. He capitalizes by finding the open man either with a fullcourt pass or punishing the defender who commits to him with the ball, as seen in the clip above. Or he just burns past everyone for an easy lay-up or draws contact for two free shots.

Sexton displays an ability to dribble in tight spaces even though he lacks a real set-up move. He knows how to run a pick-and-roll offense but he depends on it far too often. Developing an initial move may create confidence in Sexton and help him create without calling for a pick.

In the pick-and-roll, Sexton understands timing, as he displays in the clip above. He has patience and strong vision, passing primarily when he is not headed downhill  determined to score. However, he is fully capable, as he exhibits with his passing ability in transition. He knows how to run a pick-and-roll offense. The next step specific to his pick-and-roll game and game at large is learning how to positively improve and involve his teammates.

On the drive, Sexton consistently attacks with a score first tenacity when his passing ability is what will keep him in the league. Three major questions stand out watching him drive the ball.

First, can he learn how to change speeds? He is fast, but fast all the time loses its impact. John Wall developing the ability to change speeds helped raise him to the next level. In other words, it is crucial Sexton learns how to build around his speed. Showing flashes of the start of a hesitation game or the ability to control pace, the first clip shows him stopping on a dime for the 3-pointer. The natural progression follows in the next clip. He stops and changes directions quickly to blast off towards the rim. This is the start of this evolution but far from the finish as he still needs to figure out how to go at 50-percent, not just 0 and 100.

Second, is he going to be able to finish around length getting to the rim at the next level? Finishing at the rim is his bread and butter. Although Sexton’s confidence shooting is about as high as it can be, his efficiency does not match. Shooting a pedestrian 33.6 percent from distance last season makes his ability to score at the rim increasingly more important until his shot improves. He struggles finish around length and the NBA is taller than it has ever been. Additionally, he needs to work on staying strong on the drive instead of sacrificing position and ending his drive on the opposite side of the hoop.

Lastly, will Sexton try and player hero ball or can he pass in appropriate drive-and-kick situations? His vision in transition and off the pick-and-roll leads me to believe he has the more than capable vision. However, he rarely kicks it out to the man in the opposite corner or wing off the drive even when they are open.

In the clip above, two maybe three passes are open to avoid the block. Instead, he is blocked again instead of exploiting the over extended help defense for a corner 3 or dropping it off for an easy dunk.

The clip above features Mohammed Bamba and his 7-foot-10 wingspan forcing Sexton to settle for a poor jumper. Sexton could have blown past Bamba for the bucket or paseds to the corner but instead he takes a bad shot early in the shot clock, barely a step in from the 3-point line. He appeared scared to challenge Bamba and right fully so but he tends to not travel far with his dribbles. His inability to consume space with his dribbles, particularly his first dribble or two, restricts the pressure placed on a defense. Experience and practice will help but the larger NBA court requires deeper pressure even if it is just holding a defender on his hip. A good place to start improving upon this is in his pull-up game by at least reaching the elbows in one dribble.

It is increasingly difficult to survive in the NBA as a point guard who can not shoot. The good news is Sexton is a freshman not a junior or senior. That being said, a few key changes need to be made to improve his shooting. In his shot above, he receives the pass nicely in his shooting pocket but still brings the ball below his waist. Aside from the inefficiency, it allows him to crank up his shot and rotate the ball in his hand.

If you look closely, Sexton shoots the ball on the opposite side of his head. Breaking muscle memory is difficult. Thousands of shots and an equal of amount of hours are being put in to fix this or at least that is the hope. In all likelihood, his efficiency may suffer before positive results show but displaying these improvements during draft workouts could impact his stock a great deal. Another minor issue on his shot in catch-and-shoot situations is he brings his right foot too far forward causing him to aim left a bit and rotate in the air off the dribble. This is likely a subconscious habit picked up from aiming too far right when he shoots with the ball on the left side of his head.

Sexton fails to impact the game without the ball in his hands. Likewise, his aggressive on-ball defense fails to carry over off-ball consistently. He has undeniable defensive potential restricted to defending one position and possibly some smaller shooting guards.

The play above shows disinterest and laziness defending on the closeout which has plagued Sexton all season. In high school and AAU basketball, a coach rarely requested he play defense and the attitude or mindset in select situations has carried over.

A simple first step is learning how to take away air space without fouling. The argument Sexton can not reach most of these shooters is completely invalid. It appears as though he never has really learned how to properly closeout and defend a 3 without fouling.

Here is another example of him choosing to ignore the opportunity to provide help defense against the drive. This is a conscious decision and not because he is not more than capable.

Sexton sees the his man and the ball incredibly well, promising for his ability to develop as a help defender. His infectious energy has the potential to translate to impactful help defense if he chooses. He needs to work on stunting at the appropriate times and discouraging the drive, among several other things, but this could be a role where he can make up for his lack of height and weight to positively impact the defensive end of the floor. That being said, this is not a year-one type of result.

Sexton plays good on-ball defense above and then again in a help situation but ultimately ends up doubling the man at the top of the key instead of scrambling to the man in the corner. Consistent defensive lapses like this raise questions about his defense awareness. Mentioned briefly above, his on-ball aggression closes the gap on the concerns with his size, but larger opponents may beat him and by either finishing over him or through him.

First off, the hustle on the steal shows he has the heart! Sexton is strong enough to fight over screens but ends up nailed and twisted far too often. An adjustment for Sexton to practice is fighting his top leg over the screen. Accomplishing this allows him to stay in the play and recover on defense so the big or other defender may recover to his original assignment.

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Is Collin Sexton selfish or passionate? The answer is probably a little bit of both but he wants to win. He is the only one who really knows. That being said, he only needs one team to believe in him and the way he handles his draft interviews, workouts, and shot development largely impacts whether he slides into or out of the lottery.