YoungVSexton
Trae Young and Collin Sexton, the top point guard prospects in the nation. Photo from SI.com

The Oklahoma Sooners played the Alabama Crimson Tide on January 27th of this year in a rousing game of men’s college basketball. Alabama defended their home court, racking up an 80-73 victory over their opponent. Normally I don’t pay attention to college basketball, but this game showcased two of the nations top point guards, and possible Bulls draft targets, Trae Young of Oklahoma and Collin Sexton of Alabama.

TraeYoung
Trae Young elevates over a defender. Photo by News9.com

Trae Young is widely believed to be the top point guard in the nation. He has been compared to the Golden State Warriors phenom Steph Curry, and is the fastest collegiate player to score 500 points (he did it in 17 games!). He is a thrilling NBA prospect.

SextonFire
Collin Sexton burns with competitive zeal. Photo by montgomeryadvertiser.com

Collin Sexton, the number 2 point guard in the nation, is a gritty, determined player. He is a tenacious defender, a gifted scorer, and has an impressive will to succeed. Sexton knows he is the best point guard in the NCAA, even if no one else does, and he is hell bent on proving it.

Before I continue, I think I should point out that this is not going to be an expert analysis of these two players. This is just some of my impressions of them having watched a very small sample size of their work. I think both of these guys have the potential to be quality players in the NBA and I look forward to seeing them grow as professionals.

Back to it…

In terms of the game itself, Collin Sexton owned Trae Young. Sexton frustrated Young with stifling, physical defense, in fact the entire Alabama squad did, and exposed a significant weakness in the Oklahoman’s game: Trae Young is undersized.

Sextonphysicality
Collin Sexton defending, and frustrating, Trae Young. Photo by nbcsports.com

At 6’2” and 175 lbs. Trae Young is not going to win a ton of physical battles. But what he lacks in strength he more than makes up for in speed, intelligence, and court vision. Young draws constant comparisons to Steph Curry, and it is for more than just his ability to hit shots from all over the court. The speed of his shot, his ability to blow past defenders, the precision ball handling, and his knack for threading passes through needle size holes in the defense, all remind me (and the experts) of Curry.

Young is a bomber. He regularly drops 30 to 40 points on his opponents, with a healthy dose of assists to go with the scoring. He is an opportunistic defender, using his quick hands to strip his man of the ball, averaging about 2 steals a game.

But with the good, comes the bad. If you watched the above video, you will have noticed that Young enjoys hoisting up looong, contested 3 pointers. He falls in love with his shot and tries it from anywhere on the floor. It’s fine if he’s making those shots, but it’s another story when he’s missing them, and they don’t all go in.

As an undersized guard, he is susceptible to being bullied by opponents. Young is a willing defender, doggedly keeping pace with his man, rotating to help protect the lane, but his size is a detriment. Too often the player he is guarding will shoot over him, or push past him into the lane for high percentage shot attempts. You can’t teach size.

Collin Sexton is also 6’2” but 185 lbs., ten pounds heavier than Young, and he used all ten of those pounds to gain the upper hand in their late January meeting.

Sexton is fire. He is a raging inferno of competitive energy. He plays basketball cranked all the way up to eleven. His self-confidence is second to none. Sexton spent most of the game playing body-to-body denial defense on Trae Young, trying to keep the ball out of the Oklahoman’s hands, wearing him down with his physicality. It worked. Sexton, and his teammates, corralled Young keeping him to only 17 points and 8 assists (he averages 30 points and 9 assists a game!!!).

As you can probably tell, I have a distinct admiration for Collin Sexton. It’s because of his competitiveness, his audacity. He has the self-confidence of a superstar, and a ferocious will to match. If you have not seen the legend of Collin Sexton nearly willing Alabama to victory against Minnesota while playing 3 on 5 for the last 10 minutes of the game, then here it is…

Ridiculous! But Sexton also has to deal with being undersized, and he is nowhere near as prolific a scorer as Young is.

Trae Young is being touted as the next Steph Curry, and if he is, then he is certainly worth spending a top 5 draft pick on him. Because of his ability to shoot, Young has the highest ceiling for all point guards in this draft, but, because of his size, he could also be a gigantic bust. Picking Young is like swinging for the fences on a 3-2 count, you certainly could hit a home run, but you’re just as likely to strike out. It’s all or nothing for Young.

Collin Sexton is also not a sure thing. His competitive nature certainly makes him a likely success story in the NBA, but his size and the level of NBA competition could swallow him up. It will take Sexton time to adjust to the NBA, and he will have to spend a lot of time growing his game, adapting it to fit with NBA talent. I think if Sexton is drafted by a patient team, one willing to develop his talent, he could be one of the top guards in the NBA. It will all depend on who picks him, and if he is willing to grow.

Bulls Notes:

The trade deadline is 2pm central time Thursday, February 8th. As of the publishing of this blog the only move the Bulls have made is the Niko Trade. The latest rumors have linked the Bulls to Rodney Hood of the Utah Jazz. I don’t think this trade makes sense for the Bulls time line and vaunted salary cap flexibility, but what do I know. We’ll see if they are able to move any other players before the deadline.

Zach LaVine the Destroyer:

Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Cameron Payne should be back very soon:

 

 

 

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