Cavs: Darius Garland, Dylan Windler will be using step backs often

Belmont Bruins wing Dylan Windler celebrates in-game. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
Belmont Bruins wing Dylan Windler celebrates in-game. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

Look out for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland on step backs a bunch, and also Cleveland wing Dylan Windler going forward.

One would be hard-pressed to find many that would say Darius Garland lived up to expectations as a scorer in his rookie year for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Garland wasn’t as aggressive as I would’ve liked to have seen as a scorer, and even while his playmaking was a bright spot, Garland putting up 12.3 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting was fairly underwhelming.

He did hit a decent 35.5 percent of his three-point attempts, and was just the second rookie in Cavs history, joining Collin Sexton, to eclipse 100 three-pointers made.

It was a positive that Garland was getting more comfortable before the season’s suspension it seemed as a shot-maker, too.

While he did miss what would be Cleveland’s last five games of 2019-20 due to a left groin strain, in his 10 games prior to that, Garland did shoot a better 44.1 percent from the field, to go with having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.9-to-1.8.

Overall, though, Garland couldn’t have been satisfied with his performance as a rookie in the scorer/shooting sense, given his handle and shooting talent. Granted, it wasn’t all as bad as you might think.

Garland, as is the case with Collin Sexton, too (and more so in an all-around sense for Sexton), proved to be very efficient on driving floaters and driving floating bank shots.

On those two shot types, Garland hit 46.7 percent and 57.7 percent on 92 and 26 attempts, respectively, per’s shooting data.

That should again be a crucial part of Garland’s scoring repertoire, but another shot type is one that I’d expect him to take more and more of going forward, and the same will prove to be the case for Dylan Windler as well.

Garland and Windler will be key step back threats moving forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, in particular.

One of Garland’s go-to ways to score in coming years is going to be his step backs, which I’d like to see him utilize off of quick, feasibly one-dribble relocation shots, too. Garland flashed plenty of ability to hit step backs, which was encouraging.

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He hit 46.6 percent of his 58 step back J’s as a rookie, and hopefully with him more adjusted to the NBA game/speed, his step back prowess can help him generate more space for his pull-ups next season.

Garland took a while it seemed to get going in that way, as he only played in five games in college at Vanderbilt due to a meniscus tear, and if he’s more ready to roll/can get more quickness going into next season, that will allow him to get separation.

In turn, that’d enable to create more space to make his step backs even more effective, and ideally, be more efficient on pull-ups, as he hit only 34.6 percent of those in totality as a rookie.

Again, though, with Garland’s off-the-catch shooting ability, and with his handle to counter, look for him to go to the step back well more and more in coming years for the Wine and Gold.

That’s one of his go-to moves, and if defenders start to close harder to that, it could help him get to his floater and/or feed shooters such as Sexton, Kevin Love and/or Kevin Porter Jr. if stunters come, too.

Along with Garland, look for Windler to be one of Cleveland’s most effective step back shooters moving forward. Windler did not play at all in 2019-20 due to complications regarding a stress reaction in his left leg, but if he’s mostly healthy next season/coming years, he could be a big-time shooter for Cleveland.

Windler hit 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts in a four-year career at Belmont, and also hit 42.9 percent of his 7.1 deep attempts as a senior, when he had 21.3 points per outing, per Sports Reference.

Similarly to Garland, I also foresee Windler turning out to be one of Cleveland’s best off-movement shooters next season, too, and he’s such an instinctive cutter that is an ambidextrous finisher near the rim, coupled with that.

That being said, Windler is a polished pull-up shooter curling around screens, and can create for himself in the pick-and-roll, too, and his feel/touch on step backs also makes him more dangerous as a shooter.

With Windler’s deep range, he’s a threat from way outside, and with hard closeouts, it proved to open up pull-up opportunities for him at Belmont, and Windler is very capable of hitting looks from the perimeter via step backs.

He has a compact release as well, and though it will take him time to get his legs under him with the Cleveland Cavaliers to fully unlock that I’d imagine, as he gets more comfortable, I’d look out for Windler to hit plenty of step backs and be a go-to shooter for the Cavs for stretches of contests.

His 6-foot-6 height and 6-foot-10 wingspan also makes it easy for him to get those looks off with some room to spare, too.

While Sexton is a solid step back threat, especially with his pull-up prowess in the mid-range area and track star speed, and I’d think Porter will establish himself more in that realm with the separation he generates, Garland and Windler will be the key Cavs’ step back threats, in particular, in the near future I believe.

Sexton and Porter, though, will get theirs in a variety of other ways, and at least in KPJ’s case, drives to the rim, and for both, the free throw line.

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Look for Garland and Windler to go to the step back well more often, along with shooting off of movement, in comparison.