More 2019-20 PnR reps would be meaningful for Cavs’ Darius Garland

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland looks on. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland looks on. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

It’s reportedly likely that the NBA’s 2019-20 season will resume and even the Cleveland Cavaliers could possibly have more games. If that’s the case, that’d lead to more meaningful pick-and-roll reps for Darius Garland.

I can’t say for certain if the 2019-20 NBA season will have a resumption just yet, but it is reportedly likely that will be the case, and the Cleveland Cavaliers could have more game action as well.

That’s even with the Cavs not in the postseason picture at just 19-46 thus far on the season.

On Saturday, there was an update on how the NBA is in “exploratory conversations” with The Walt Disney Company in relation to the league resuming its’ season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and having some sort of conclusion to the year. That update noted how games would be set to hopefully return “in late July.”

Here was more on that, via statement from NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne also had further details regarding the NBA working with Disney on how the league could resume there via centralized site, and a key takeaway from her report was how the league will seemingly have some sort of resumption unless “unforeseen” circumstances arise. That’s involving medical concerns in terms of the subject of the novel coronavirus pandemic, of course, which is the reason for the league being on hiatus since March 11.

Granted, Shelburne did note that it’s still “unclear whether the NBA will play the remainder of its regular season or proceed directly to the playoffs.”

It does seem to be a real possibility that there could be more games for non-playoff teams such as the Cavs this season, though, and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported how the league polled/asked its general managers about possibilities for some sort of season resumption (subscription required).

He even described how a possible play-in tournament/playoffs “plus” option with possibly a group stage is something the league deems could be in play. Nothing is a certainty as far as more regular games/the league jumping straight to playoffs, however, as was referenced.

Again, though, more regular season games even would be still meaningful for the Cavs, who have played young pieces such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. a bunch of minutes this season, and rightfully so for their development in this rebuild. More of the Andre Drummond-Kevin Love frontcourt on-floor reps would be a result, too, and with Drummond reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million option for next season, that’d be productive.

Moreover, the Cleveland Cavaliers, assuming proper safety measures were taken, would still benefit from more games being played for them in 2019-20. Post-All-Star break leading into the NBA season’s hiatus, the Cavs were playing better and a respectable 5-6, were sixth in the NBA in assist rate in that span, per, and seemingly given some juice with J.B. Bickerstaff taking over the head coaching reigns.

So who is a piece that jumps out that could definitely benefit from more game action this season?

More 2019-20 game action would be beneficial for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ young pieces, but especially Garland. He’d have, most notably, more pick-and-roll reps.

On the season thus far, Garland has been fairly underwhelming as a scorer, and it’s more so due to him just not looking to take over as a scorer enough. Garland has seemingly not had his optimal quickness, which is understandable, and he was thrown into a tough role as a first-year point guard after only appearing in five games in his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt due to a meniscus tear.

To this point, Garland has had 12.3 points per game, which has been a bit unfortunate, and his effective field goal shooting rate has been lower than many likely expected at 47.6 percent. The 6-foot-1 guard has struggled mightily as a finisher near the rim as well, but that’s not a shock, really.

Garland has still flashed his deep range a considerable amount, though, even with a fairly average overall three-point shooting clip of 35.5 percent, per Basketball Reference.

Anyhow, before he was sidelined for five games leading into the hiatus due to a left groin strain, Garland was demonstrating plenty of promise as a playmaker and deep shooter.

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In his last 10 games active, he had 4.9 assists to just 1.8 turnovers per outing, to go with a similar 12.4 points per game, but he shot 44.1 percent from the field as opposed to 40.1 percent on the year, per

Along those lines factoring in that better play, more 2019-20 games for Garland, who I’d hope would be fully healthy then, would enable him to keep progressing as a pick-and-roll playmaker.

Although he has not shown nearly enough big-time pick-and-roll shot-making as I thought he would coming into the season, and I hope he can create more room off the bounce next season, Garland has gotten better with more experience as a passer in the PnR.

For his development, more 2019-20 reps in that realm via season resumption at Disney would be a plus.

He was showing better timing in finding interior targets such as Drummond, Love and Larry Nance Jr. in pick-and-roll situations before he was sidelined, and Garland was also more consistently finding the likes of Sexton, Cedi Osman and others for kickout looks. Garland was most importantly, playing with more decisiveness as a passer, and overall, it’s been unfortunate that we haven’t been able to see if Garland would be able to turn a corner due to the hiatus.

More 2019-20 game action could be on the way for Garland, again, though, and I believe more pick-and-roll reps, both in the playmaking and scoring sense, would be meaningful for the rookie going into the offseason.

He was again proving to show more growth as a PnR playmaker, but something I’d be looking to see if more games were to be played for the Cavs this season would be Garland showing more aggressiveness in looking to score in PnR situations.

He’s taken plenty of his share of pull-ups, but we haven’t seen nearly enough assertiveness from him as a PnR scorer, and perhaps that could be the case more in additional game action at Disney. In turn, that could feasibly give him some more confidence as a bucket-getter in those scenarios next season.

That’s something that’s definitely a way he’d have a bigger impact throughout games going forward, and with Garland’s shooting range, I’d expect we’ll see that. Also, hopefully after a very productive offseason, the 20-year-old can acquire more explosiveness/improve his strength to help his finishing/halfcourt on-ball creation next season.

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In summation, if the Cavs do play more games this season, I’ll be looking out for more Garland pick-and-roll reps/scoring willingness as a key thing to watch for, among other aspects of contests.