In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s edition glances at Alabama point guard Collin Sexton.
19-year-old point guard Collin Sexton, who was born and raised in the Atlanta area, will be highly sought after in the 2018 NBA Draft for several reasons. He stands 6’2 and weighs in around 190 pounds while also possessing a 6’7 wingspan. Not only is his frame a good one, but he’s athletically gifted as he showed time and again during Alabama’s late season tournament run.
After averaging 19 points and 3.6 assists per game for Alabama as a freshman, Sexton decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft and wisely so. While he may still have some growing to do in the future, his tools are simply too good to pass up at the top of the draft and he is sure to not last long on the board.
With that in mind, let’s take a deeper look at some of Sexton’s strengths and weaknesses.
Sexton’s greatest gift is his ability to seemingly score at will. With a barrage of different ways to get the ball to the rim and possessing a working jump shot, Sexton is a scoring threat any time he has the ball in his hands. In fact, he nearly won a game singlehandedly, when Alabama was forced down to just three players in a game against Minnesota this season. Sexton went on to post 40 points in a four point loss despite playing 3-on-5 for the last 10 (!) minutes of the game.
Aside from his impressive scoring ability, Sexton has shown a young but up and coming ability to distribute the basketball and, with better players surrounding him and the right guidance, his passing skills could show through tremendously.
He only averaged 3.6 assists this season but that does not tell the entire story at all. Sexton routinely had games where 8-10 assists were feasible but would not happen due to his teammates missing open shots and, while that is relatively common at the college level, it was pronounced in Tuscaloosa.
Sexton is also a good rebounder and uses his wingspan well to box out defenders on the offensive glass especially. His leaping ability will be useful at the next level along with his high-end motor for hard work on the glass for whatever team chooses him.
Most of Sexton’s biggest weaknesses are the result of him being so young and unpolished. He has a good foundation of skills, like a good looking jump shot when he is on, but his stats don’t always reflect his good fundamentals due to inconsistencies that come along with learning.
One thing Sexton definitely had trouble with this season was defense where he played little to none on a routine basis. It isn’t that Sexton can’t defend because he has a working frame to be able to defend effectively. The lack of defense could be a result of not wanting to pick up fouls considering his contributions on the offensive end and the efforts made to keep him in the game as much as possible.
On film, Sexton’s biggest problem defensively is his lateral movement. Sexton absolutely possesses athleticism but can from time to time get stuck on top of screens or isn’t able to move his feet in time for position against quicker driving point guards.
On the offensive end, the aforementioned jump shot is an open question. He converted only 33.6 percent of his three-point attempts in college and, while that some of that has to do with shot selection, Sexton has to prove himself as a shooter, both on the catch and off the dribble, in order to justify what could be a lofty draft position.
Overall, Sexton is a solid, high-motor point guard that still needs some time to develop. Despite still being raw, he’s a top talent in this draft and a top 10 selection would not be a shock by any means.
From an Atlanta Hawks perspective, who knows what would be possible should the team choose to move back in the draft or take a big swing in moving up from No. 19 overall. He is indeed a hometown star on the rise and the Hawks would need point guard help badly in the event of a trade involving Dennis Schröder.
Possibly a marriage between the two makes sense but we shall find out soon. Stay tuned for more.