Darius Garland, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard, has steadily improved since his rookie season. In only his second season, Garland has become a key contributor for Cleveland. Can Garland improve more, will he reach an All-Star level? Also, how the Cavs draft with Garland’s improvement will be interesting. Cleveland has drafted very guard heavy recently, but this could change.
Garland is Improving
In his rookie season, Garland averaged 12.3 points, 3.9 assists and 0.7 steals. The Cavs guard only shot 40.1% from the floor and 35.5% from three. This three point percentage is not that bad, but Garland was drafted to be a knockdown shooter. Due to Garland’s jump shot mechanics, some believed he could shoot 40% or better from three. However, one thing to consider is Garland was only 20-years-old his rookie season and he was coming off a torn ACL.
Garland has taken the first step in his development. This year, Garland is averaging 16.6 points, 5.7 assists and 1.1 steals. In addition, Garland has shot 44% and 39.9% from three. He has taken a rather large leap in just his second NBA season. On the other hand, Garland was the fifth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft so he can be held to high standards. At the end of March, Garland has played the best basketball of his career. He averaged over 20 points and shot extremely well from three over a five game span.
Darius Garland’s last 5 games:
25 PTS – 6 AST – 56% FG – 40% 3P
29 PTS – 8 AST – 50% FG – 50% 3P
15 PTS – 6 AST – 50% FG – 100% 3P
17 PTS – 2 AST – 40% FG – 50% 3P
22 PTS – 9 AST – 40% FG – 67% 3P
Do me a favor and stop sleeping on DG 🤫 pic.twitter.com/jW90ZNLMNi
— Will (@TheWillHoltz) March 25, 2021
Considering Garland’s huge leap from year one to year two, he could get even better. He was drafted five overall for a reason. He is extremely talented. Garland can be deadly from three, has a great floater and is a great ball-handler. In addition, Garland is a great passer. Numerous times this season Garland dished beautiful passes off a pick-and-roll. He has ran the show for the Cavs’ this season. Garland certainly looks like the Cavs’ franchise point guard.
Just how good can Garland get though? Many young NBA players explode in their third NBA season. For example, the Cavs’ Collin Sexton has turned into a borderline All-Star in his third season. Garland’s third season will be key for him. If Garland makes another leap in his third year, he could be an All-Star caliber guard eventually. However, if he maintains his current play or takes a step back, his future will be unpredictable.
Impact on Cavs
Cleveland could change their draft strategy with Garland’s current play. Obviously after drafting Garland the Cavs took the forward Isaac Okoro in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, the 2021 NBA Draft will be loaded with guards. Currently, the Cavs will likely have a first round pick somewhere between 4-8. Several great guards like Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs or Moses Moody could be available.
Most expect Cleveland to select another forward, since Garland and Sexton look to be a good backcourt going forward. If the Cavs select a forward, this shows they are comfortable with Garland at point guard. As they should be considering his recent play. They will likely look to select a forward like Scottie Barnes, Jonathan Kuminga or Keon Johnson.
Garland’s future looks bright and will be worth watching. With a Garland third year leap, the Cavs could be close to finishing their rebuild.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.