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Prospect Breakdown: Collin Sexton

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The Alabama standout is hanging around the 10 line but why would the Sixers need him?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we inch closer to the 2018 NBA Draft, we take a look at another prospect that could fall to the 76ers at the 10th pick in the opening round. Collin Sexton from the University of Alabama has pushed his way from an unranked high school recruit to an NBA lottery pick in three years. During his lone season in Tuscaloosa, Sexton led his team in scoring with 19.2 points per game which was good enough to be second highest in the SEC.

There is a lot to love about Sexton but his top attribute has to be his speed. In honor of the guard’s swiftness, we quickly give a recap of what to look for if Sexton ends up in Philadelphia by October.

Offense

Sexton’s offensive game is absolutely the reason that he could become a star at the next level. He provided the only offense for the Crimson Tide during the 2017-18 season, finishing with a 32.5 usage rate. That ranked 20th among college basketball players last season according to Fox Sports. He scored in double figures in 29 of his 33 games and scored at least 20 points 16 times during the season. If the regular season did not show us enough, Sexton stepped up his game in the postseason with highlights that showed he was ready for the NBA.

That shot gave Alabama enough of a boost to get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The shot below came against Virginia Tech in the first round of the Tournament, giving the Crimson Tide their first tourney win since 2006.

Sexton’s jump shot has potential but there is still plenty of to be worked on. He shot just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc in his single collegiate season, and he finished the year at 49.9 percent on 2-pointers. His efficiency will need to rise if he’s to be a successful NBA player. But getting to the rim is his strong suit; if that carries into the NBA, it will help his efficiency. And I know what you’re thinking: great, another guard that can’t shoot. But Sexton is more than that.

His scoring ability makes him an elite offensive option while his speed and ball handling puts him above most guards on the draft board.

Defense

Defensively, Sexton has not received the praise that he has on offense. His quickness and awareness showed at a high level on the defensive side of the ball. The pace would speed up with him in the game and force teams that would like to go slow into bad shots or turnovers. He averaged just under one steal per game and was not in the top 50 in defensive rating of the SEC his impact on the court was clear.

Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said that Sexton was the quickest player he has ever seen on the basketball court. The former NBA player and coach said that the speed allows Sexton to guard anyone in the country. If he gets drafted 10th and sees the court as a Sixer, there’s a good chance that Sexton will be spending most of his defensive time guard the two spot. His speed will allow him to chase the best of shooters across the court and around screens. The 19-year old has a 6’6” wing span that is just long enough to disrupt a shot or reach into passing lanes. The statistics did not back it up in his lone collegiate season but Sexton’s physical attributes and work rate allows him to hold his own on the defensive end.

Positional Fit

If the Sixers want a guard that can create his own shot but also be able to run in transition with the rest of the team, this may be the guy to go with. Sexton is quick, offensive minded and an exciting teammate. There could be questions about bring another guard in rather than a wing player but it certainly would not be easy to pass on Sexton if he is still on the board when Philadelphia on the clock.

Draft Projection

Sexton has been projected as high as 8th (The Athletic) and as low as 12th (Bleacher Report) but there is very little consistency as to where the Alabama guard will go. There’s a good chance that he is available at the 10 spot and he could end up as one of the top two or three options for the Sixers. In NBADraft.net’s consensus mock, Sexton is drafted to Philadelphia. With as much talent as there is in this draft, it is hard to tell who will and will not be available after nine picks. However, if Collin Sexton becomes a 76er, Avery Johnson thinks they’ll be getting a steal.

“I saw that ‘it’ factor. You know we talk about that when you see it with players,” Johnson said. “They have it when they walk in the door — that confidence, ability to navigate their way out of difficult situations. Even though they get knocked down, they don’t stay down.”