Tyronn Lue sees a little Kyrie Irving in Collin Sexton

J.R Smith limited on day 1 of camp as Cavs aim to pick up the pace this season

Daryl Ruiter
September 25, 2018 - 5:26 pm
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Independence, OH (92.3 The Fan) – As the Cavaliers tip off training camp, all eyes are on the eighth overall pick in the draft, Collin Sexton.

Sexton has chosen to wear No. 2, previously worn by Kyrie Irving, who was traded to Boston last August, but that’s not where the comparisons between Sexton and Irving end.

Although their games are different, there’s something about Irving that head coach Tyron Lue already sees in the rookie.

“He’s not afraid of the moment, and Kyrie was the same way,” Lue said. “He’s not afraid of the big moment. You saw it with Collin in college last year. Even in summer league, he made the big 3 to tie it up and send it into overtime. He’s not afraid of the big moment.”

Irving, of course, hit the most important shot in franchise history in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals that helped them become the first team in history to erase a 3-1 deficit to win a championship.

Sexton played in 7 summer league games in Las Vegas where he averaged 19.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in just under 29 minutes per game.

"Summer League, he got better every game," Lue said. "Each game, he got better and better and better. He understood the rules, understood how the game is going to be officiated. Understood where he could pick and choose his spots and score the basketball or make plays for others. So, I thought summer league was a big jump for him."

Kevin Love, who just signed a 4-year, $120 million extension this offseason, is excited about Sexton and the energy he’ll bring.

“He’s gonna have to learn to change up paces but he only plays at one speed right now,” Love said. “They call him ‘Young Bull’ for a reason.”

J.R. limited – Guard J.R. Smith was limited during the first full day of training camp Tuesday.

Smith is dealing with a sore hip according to Lue.

“He did a little bit today, but he didn’t do the whole practice,” Lue said.

Smith, who has averaged 12.6 points over 960 games, is coming off a season that saw him average just 8.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in just over 28 minutes last year.

Full speed ahead – Lue put his team through a 2.5-hour workout on Day 1.

“I think the intensity was high,” Lue said. “Guys really put the energy and effort into practice.”

The extended practice is quite the adjustment for returning players like Kevin Love.

“We’ll be in great shape I can tell you that,” Love said.

Lue aims to dial up the tempo on both ends of the floor this season, and to do that, it has to begin on the practice floor.

“I think everything we do has to be full speed,” Lue said, “game speed, intensity and working on playoff habits, getting good habits, playing the right way.”

Lesson plan – The Cavaliers have a much different – and younger – feel to them this year following the departure of LeBron James in free agency, which one would think would have a negative affect on a coach, but not Lue.

“It’s good. It’s my first time to be able to teach,” Lue said.