Cavs fans are missing out on seeing if Darius Garland could turn a corner

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talks with Cleveland guard Darius Garland. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talks with Cleveland guard Darius Garland. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

With the NBA’s season suspended, us fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently missing out on seeing if rookie Darius Garland could turn a corner.

The NBA season is suspended for the Cleveland Cavaliers and other teams, as you know, given concerns involving the novel coronavirus pandemic.

There was growing optimism that the season could eventually play out, at least in some facet, per a report from The Athletic‘s Sam Amick (subscription required) on Thursday.

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That being said, on Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the NBA Board of Governors agreed on safety being the number one concern, and as was h/t Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Silver said that the league is “not in any position to make any decisions and it’s unclear when we will be.”

Granted, as was h/t Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix, Silver did essentially say on Friday that he senses that while NBA owners know “player safety comes first, they see helping to re-start the economy as a civic obligation.”

Again, though, with how profound of an impact COVID-19 has had all over, it’s uncertain if the 2019-20 season will eventually resume, at least in some capacity, and in terms of other reported updates, more so regarding potential player compensation, you can view those here.

Anyhow, a key thing along with the other three things I previously touched on, Cavs fans are missing out on seeing with the league’s season suspended is if Darius Garland could turn a corner in the closing stretch of 2019-20.

On the year, Garland’s been fairly underwhelming, but him coming off appearing in only five games in college at Vanderbilt due to a meniscus tear has likely played into him having trouble generating separation off-the-bounce, which will be crucial to him having more success next season.

Thus far, Garland’s shown plenty of flashes of high-level pull-up shooting, as evidenced by a decent effective field goal shooting clip of 44.6 percent on those looks, per’s shot tracking data.

Of course, a 45.1 percent frequency has likely been a bit much on those, and while overall, Garland’s 35.5 percent shooting clip on three-point shots has been fairly average, him joining Collin Sexton earlier this season as only the second Cavs rookie to hit 100 triples is encouraging. Along with that, so has been Garland hitting a robust 39.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts.

At any rate, Garland has really struggled as a finisher near the rim this season, as evidenced by him hitting just 46.8 percent from 0-3 feet out, per Basketball Reference, and he’s mightily struggled on the defensive end on-ball.

Hopefully, whenever the upcoming offseason is and when players can be back training as normal in team facilities, in particular, Garland can get stronger, similarly to how Sexton did and that’s paid off for him this year.

Related Story. Breaking down Collin Sexton's top three games thus far in 2019-20. light

On a positive note heading into the league’s season suspension, though, and aside from when Garland was sidelined for five games due to a left groin strain leading into that, he was demonstrating better playmaking feel and he was seemingly more comfortable running Cleveland’s offense.

That was, in turn, getting pieces such as Andre Drummond, who is reportedly likely to opt into his $28.8 million player option for next season, per’s Chris Fedor, quality lobs. Plus, Garland was having better timing and execution on spray-outs to shooters such as Kevin Love (who Cleveland is seemingly in no rush to look to trade, per Fedor), Cedi Osman, Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Larry Nance Jr.

In DG’s last 10 games active, he averaged 4.9 assists and just 1.8 turnovers, as noted by Also, while 12.4 points per contest in that span was not earth-shattering (nor is his season scoring average of 12.3), Garland was getting good looks, including in the mid-range area, and his effective field goal shooting clip of 50.4 was somewhat better than his season clip of 47.6 percent.

Moreover, factoring in that it’d feasibly take a game or two for Garland to have really gotten his legs back under him, it’s unfortunate that us Cavs fans are missing out on seeing if Garland could turn a corner heading into the closing stretch of his rookie year. Perhaps we’ll still eventually see Garland get more game action down the road, though.

Would I have expected a Sexton post-All-Star production-like surge from Garland?

No, but Garland has more pieces around him than Sexton had then mostly, anyway, but I’d imagine Garland could have gotten a bit more aggressive as a scorer with him in the closing stretch of his rookie season, and again, showing more and more positive playmaking/decision-making signs.

Hopefully, Garland can get some more game action down the road to get some momentum heading into the next season, but either way, I just hope the Cleveland Cavaliers are patient with him in his development.

He’s playing the game’s toughest position in point guard, after all. Again, though, it’s just unfortunate that we’re missing out on seeing if Garland could turn a corner and really have a chance at hitting his stride in a nice way heading into what would’ve been the offseason. The Cavs were initially scheduled to have finished the 2019-20 season on Wednesday at the Atlanta Hawks.

Next. Being more of a pull-up threat may be next step for Larry Nance Jr.. dark

Anyhow, I just hope Garland can be able to have more game action, but whether or not that’s the case, have an especially productive offseason where he can get stronger and quicker and be able to work on his overall game, inside the arc, in particular.