Cavs: Predicting 3 starting backcourts that we could see next season

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
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Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers guards Darius Garland (far right) and Collin Sexton (third from the right) react in-game. (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Cleveland Cavaliers’ potential starting backcourt #2: Darius Garland and Collin Sexton

In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers made a pretty surprising move with their fifth overall pick. A year after taking a small guard in Sexton, the Cavaliers took another small guard in Darius Garland.

This move created a small backcourt that has drawn comparisons to the backcourt we see on the Portland Trail Blazers but, so far, this backcourt does not look like one that will work out long term.

There are a few reasons as to why this duo hasn’t performed well so far which includes roster construction, the lack of experience between the pairing, and the Cavaliers choosing to throw Garland into the wolves as opposed to easing him into the NBA. Whatever reasoning you use to explain the duo’s underwhelming season, one thing is for certain and it’s that to maximize the pairing’s potential, massive changes must happen to both the roster and the duo.

Looking at this season so far, Garland has averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 assists per game, while Sexton has averaged 20.8 points and 3.0 assists per game. His scoring clip, which has led the Cavs virtually all year long, has been on 47.2 percent shooting from the field, 38.0 percent from three-point range, and 84.6 percent from the free throw line, Basketball Reference.

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Individually, Garland’s best statistical month came in January of this year, as I highlighted previously, while Sexton’s best stretch had been in the 15 games leading into the hiatus. This pairing has shown flashes throughout the season and if the Cavaliers want this pairing to work, they have to be all-in on them.

This would mean surrounding them with defenders as we have seen other teams with small backcourts do. Looking at examples of this, the 2016-17 Boston Celtics paired the small backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley with then-many defenders/three-and-D players in Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Marcus Smart, to name a few.

Another example of this is a team like the Trail Blazers over the past couple or so years, who paired their backcourt in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with then players such as Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu.

All in all, adding defenders to the roster would help to improve the performances that we see from the duo of Sexton and Garland. Physically, Garland improving his strength would help to improve his finishing around the rim and could help to make him respectable on defense.

With many defenders available in the upcoming draft as well as some in free agency (although the Cavs likely won’t be key players there), the Cavaliers could make the adjustments necessary to get the most out of this pairing. It’s a matter of whether or not they want to commit to the pairing, though.