The decision to create a Collin Sexton midrange-ilation was pretty much made by month two of his rookie campaign. His scoring game up to that point seemed entirely reliant on the midrange shot. Crowning him as the next Chris Paul would have been premature – their similarities began and ended with the ability to smoothly hit a midrange shot as the primary ballhandler – but crowning him as “Chris Paul v0.5 if Chris Paul could only shoot midrange jumpers and had no court awareness at all” was not premature at all. In fact, it was visionary. That’s what it seemed like at the time, anyway.
However, by the month of January, Sexton had pretty much stopped taking the midrange shot. Out of 132 midrange jumpers that Sexton made this season (a number which obviously excludes all floaters, because floaters are not jumpshots no matter how much the NBA statkeepers want to pretend they are), 99 of them were made in the calendar year 2018. After that, most of Sexton’s midrange attempts were floaters. He would only pop for the jumper if the defense was giving it to him in such a flagrant way that he had no choice but to shoot.
To replace the shot attempts that were no longer happening in the midrange, we saw a dramatic uptick in the amount of three-pointers that Sexton was attempting. October through December, Sexton only attempted five or more threes in one game. January through April, we saw him attempt five or more threes in 26 games. His scoring game was basically reinvented over the course of the season, and the transformation happened very quickly. My visionary vision of Collin Sexton being a midrange specialist turned out not to be so visionary after all, and my commitment to making this midrange-ilation seemed foolish.
But why? Why did Sexton abandon the midrange jumpshot in favor of other methods of scoring? I’ve come up with a few possible reasons.
-Possible Reason #1: Larry Drew told him to stop shooting it. Drew saw that Sexton had a promising, but underused, three-point stroke and knew that Sexton’s future was as a three-point shooter. Sexton, not wanting to lose minutes on the court or standing within the organization, would listen to anything that his coaches told him. They should tell him to cut off that weird hair tube he has on the back of his head.
-Possible Reason #2: Sexton himself decided to stop shooting it. He might have had some kind of awakening where he realized all at once that his three-ball was actually just as reliable as his midrange shot. Or he saw some kind of advanced stats printout that informed him that his points per shot on long twos was way lower than his points per shot on threes.
Possible Reason #3: Sexton received shot-selection advice from the talking owl that has visited him in his dreams since he was four years old. The owl’s name is Bruno and he has never led Sexton astray in the past. Bruno’s serene forest home is a welcome respite from the rigors of Sexton’s real-world existence. It is uncertain whether Bruno is an extension of Sexton’s psyche or if Bruno is an oneiric projection of some other form of intelligence external to the human race.
-Possible Reason #4: Damian Lillard released a diss track called “Sexton is a Midrange Bitch” on his Soundcloud page.
-Possible Reason #5: Sexton shot so much from the midrange because, as a rookie playing in his first NBA games, that was the only shot he was truly comfortable with. As he got used to the pace of the NBA game and the longer three-point line, he naturally added range to his game without making a conscious effort to. Look, I can write serious stuff without jokes if I want to. ESPN please hire me as a journalist.
-Possible Reason #6: Sexton saw the inevitability of the fact that I would make a midrange-ilation for him and wanted to put a stop to it for the specific reason of ruining my life. Well, the joke is definitely on him and not me because I am still making the midrange-ilation for him. Also, my life would not be ruined over something so minor. Sure, I would cry for a few days, but my life wouldn’t be ruined. What would really ruin my life is if somebody forced me to continue making Collin Sexton highlight videos this season. The view counts for him are so bad. Nobody’s even going to watch this video either. God damn it.
-Possible Reason #7: The NBA switched to a lighter ball in January, which made it easier for Sexton to shoot longer-range shots. The credibility of this theory is damaged by the fact that I just bought an official NBA game ball and it doesn’t feel any lighter to me. I’m a total weakling so I would definitely notice if the ball suddenly became easier to shoot.
Maybe we’ll never know the answer. What we do know for sure is this: assuming present trends continue, this is both the first and last Collin Sexton midrange-ilation you’ll ever see.