Cavs: Darius Garland-Kevin Porter Jr.-Dylan Windler is trio to look out for

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. (left) and Cleveland guard Darius Garland. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. (left) and Cleveland guard Darius Garland. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Looking at next season and moving forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Darius Garland-Kevin Porter Jr.-Dylan Windler is a trio to look out for.

It’s unfortunate that we have not seen the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ 2019 NBA Draft picks of Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and Dylan Windler on the floor together in meaningful minutes yet. Garland and Porter have had a chunk of minutes together, and Porter has also had his time alongside the likes of Collin Sexton.

What’s been rough, though, is that we have not seen Windler out there for the Wine and Gold yet, as he’s had complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg since training camp.

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Windler then surgery to take care of that issue, and even with the current season on hiatus still, of which you can view recent reported updates about potential scenarios here, it’s still likely that we won’t see him until next season, even if there’s possibly some regular season left.

Nonetheless, in what could very well be a positive for Windler, and perhaps Porter and Garland, the start of the 2020-21 NBA season could be pushed back until December due to support for that potentially being the case, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That’s even more so considering how the NBA Draft lottery and draft combine were postponed indefinitely on Friday, per the league and as was h/t Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

That could seemingly mean, while not a certainty at this point, that the 2020 NBA Draft could be postponed, too, and according to a report from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on Thursday, the league could be expecting support growing for moving its’ June 25 draft back to August or September. So again, though, that could be a plus for Windler if he can hopefully keep progressing in his rehab.

Moreover, next season and moving forward I’d imagine, a key trio to look out for is Garland-Porter Jr.-Windler for the Cavs.

Garland, though he’s been a bit underwhelming with just 12.3 points per game and needs to be more aggressive as a scorer, has still shown an impressive handle, and while his 35.5 percent three-point hit rate has been fairly average, if he looks for his shot more, I’d expect that to open up more easy playmaking chances for him.

That aspect of his game has been encouraging from my perspective, too, and Garland had a nice 4.8-1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio in his last 10 games active leading into the NBA’s novel coronavirus-induced season suspension.

Windler being on the floor in instances relieving Cedi Osman and/or playing alongside Cedi if he moves to the bench eventually, such as if Cleveland ends up drafting Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, could again be a player that’d be a terrific target for Garland on drive-and-kicks/ball-reversals, and also Porter (and Sexton).

Windler is a player that should bring a real floor spacing element to Cleveland’s offense, I’d think as a bench contributor mostly next season at least and/or in the near future, as he hit 40.6 percent of his three-pointers in his four-year career at Belmont, per Sports Reference.

Windler is a piece I believe will fit in seamlessly alongside Garland and KPJ in stretches of games even more so due to his off-screen/quick pull-up shooting on curls, his cutting and touch near the basket with both hands, and with him being a player that has shown some finishing ability above the rim as well, I’d think he’ll really give Cleveland’s bench some added pop.

I agree with KJG’s Robbie DiPaola regarding that aspect from Windler, and as DiPaola hit on, too, Windler, who had 10.8 rebounds in his senior season at Belmont, should help the Cavs on the glass and feasibly be a quality grab-and-go threat, too.

That element is so crucial in today’s league, where you can never have enough players that can get you into your offense, and that secondary playmaking feel from Windler, who can operate in pick-and-roll some, too, should help utilize Garland off the ball as a shooter when the two are sharing the floor.

Along with that, Windler is more than capable of hitting Porter, a player who has displayed quality cutting instincts, going to the basket. Conversely, I’d expect KPJ, who has had 10.0 points per game but also a nice 14.7 percent assist rate in 2019-20, to deliver plenty of dump-offs to Windler after his drives, and continue to show the feel to hit the likes of Garland and others on the perimeter when he draws in help.

Granted, on the defensive end, it’s still a big question mark if these three can eventually be playable for long stretches, at least early on, as I’m somewhat unsure about Windler on that end, and Garland has a long way to go on-ball.

Either way, it seems feasible that we’ll at least see Windler and Porter together plenty next year as a pairing with I’d imagine Larry Nance Jr. in that mix as a screener/initiator for both, too.

Projecting forward, though, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2019 draft class, of which we have not seen in game action together yet, is a key trio to look out for in the near future. Let’s just hope all three players can stay mostly healthy from here on out, of course, and we’ll see as far as that goes.

Garland, who had missed five games leading into the NBA’s season suspension with a left groin strain, only appeared in five games in his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt due to a meniscus tear, and Porter missed a 10-game span in January in relation to a left knee sprain. Plus, Porter had a tough quad injury in his one collegiate season at USC that caused him to miss 10 games, and he then missed three games leading into the NBA’s hiatus because of a concussion.

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If the Garland-Porter-Windler trio can stay healthy, though, they could emerge as quite a promising triplet for the Wine and Gold that could mesh extremely well.