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4 ways Trae Young and Collin Sexton impressed NBA scouts in their matchup

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These two are clearly the best point guard prospects in the country.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Trae Young and Collin Sexton brought more than 50 scouts to watch Alabama host Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon, and made it worth their trip. In Alabama’s upset 80-73 win, the top two NBA point guard prospects proved that the future of the league is bright, and that lottery teams will have a tough choice picking between them.

For Young, this matchup was a chance to show his NBA doubters how he’d be able to overcome his underwhelming wingspan and 6’2 build against a wealth of lengthy guards. He succeeded at that with 17 points and seven assists.

For Sexton, this matchup was a chance to leap his name into top-5 pick consideration for his defense against Young, and showcase his scoring talents against one of the nation’s best teams. He also succeeded with 18 points on 14 shots.

So what impressed scouts about this game?

Young is a brilliant playmaker

Trae Young spent portions of this game face-guarded close to the half court line, and never had an inch of space he didn’t have to fight for.

Coach Avery Johnson had his Crimson Tide team swarm Young all over the court in ways reminiscent of what teams did in J.J. Redick’s last season at Duke. With all of Alabama’s length at its guard positions, this was about as difficult a game as Young has faced from an offensive standpoint, but it didn’t matter much.

Young’s glorified for his three-point stroke, but he also leads the league in assists for a reason.

Young knows when to play the decoy and dish to crashing bigs, and that’s what he was able to do all game. He finished with seven assists.

More impressive than his drop-downs, Young read the defense as he hovered over the three-point line as well, and knew when and where to set-up his teammates. His one-hand passes have become a trademark in his everyday play, and these are the types of cross-court plays he’ll need to make at the next level.

Sexton’s lightning speed

Sexton can switch speeds in an instant, which is how he’s able to get into the paint so often. From there, he knows when to kick-out, and when to finish himself.

On a leak-out off a rebound, Sexton weaved between a trio of Crimson Tide defenders to break to the rim himself. It may have been his most eye-popping play of the afternoon.

Speed is a huge aspect of Young’s game, and that he’s able to maintain balance and vision when he puts his foot on the pedal is a great sign.

Young’s ability to create space

There’s no questioning Young’s ability to shoot (40 percent from three-point range), but the ability to create space on his own will be one of his most difficult obstacles to overcome at the next level. Steph Curry took time before he was able to figure that out in the NBA, too.

Alabama’s speed and length was the perfect test. A flurry of guards were able to hold Young to just five points on eight shots in the first half, but that wasn’t the case as the game progressed.

That’s because Young’s foot mechanics are on another level. With the ball in his hands, Young is constantly positioning himself with his feet pointed towards the rim off the bounce. That makes it difficult for defenders to know when he’s going to pull-up.

In one swift move, Young is able to blow by, then step-back and launch into one of the quickest releases in the game. This shot will be on repeat for every NBA GM on draft day, because we’ve seen what it can do for Curry’s offense.

Sexton’s finishes

Off the drive, Sexton is balanced and strong attacking the rim. He punished Young’s size when given the opportunities, and showed why teams should consider drafting his more NBA-ready physique.

Through contact, Sexton saw few problems, and he made eight of the 14 shots he took (10 were from two-point range).

There’s a lot to like about both of these likely top-10 picks

If there’s any single takeaway from Alabama’s upset, it’s that both of these prospects are well worth high lottery consideration. Among guards, these are the two to pick from.

Sexton may be the safer choice based on his current skill-set and NBA build, but Young has proved time and time again that he has ways to compensate for his size. Neither has separated his name far from the other in the draft just yet.

Get used to these names, because Trae Young and Collin Sexton are the future of the NBA.