Cavs: Darius Garland must be aggressor when not on floor with Collin Sexton

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland handles the ball. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland handles the ball. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

As Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland continues to improve his game, he must learn to be more of the aggressor when not on the floor with Collin Sexton.

Darius Garland did not have the rookie season that Cleveland Cavaliers fans were expecting to get out of the young rookie. Averaging 12.3 points per game and 3.9 assists, the numbers look better than how the season actually went.

With choppy play, hesitation and playing “scared,” Garland did not look comfortable, which can be expected from a rookie.

As fans were eager to see how the duo in Garland and Collin Sexton would play out, I believe it is safe to say that the duo gave fans mixed emotions after year one of the experiment. While I believe Sexton made a very smooth transition to shooting guard, Garland struggled at times to play alongside another true point guard at heart.

In terms of what to expect from the duo going into year two, a few things could be done to help try to boost both of the guards’ play, especially for Garland.

Staggering the two in stretches could allow Garland to really grow into the “aggressor” and try to take over more for the Cleveland Cavaliers when Sexton’s not on the floor with him.

Without Sexton on the floor with him, it will allow Garland to move more without the ball and have more chances for catch-and-shoot opportunities from guys like Kevin Porter Jr. and company.

While Porter will have a notable role offensively on-ball for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he still is a highly capable passer, and he can hit Garland outside. Plus, Garland did hit a healthy 39.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-point attempts in 2019-20, per’s shot tracking data.

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So who was Garland’s number one assist partner? Tristan Thompson.

Garland made the most field goals off of assists from teammate Thompson, who may or may not be back next season as he is expiring, with Cedi Osman being a close second.

While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is still something that needs to be addressed and Garland needs to be more active in running off-ball when the other playmakers have the ball as Thompson’s fate remains unknown with the Cavs.

While overall, Garland shot 40.1 percent from the field, do not let that fool you. In terms of jump shots only, Garland shot 32.0 percent, per’s shooting data, and that is something that in the future must get better.

If Garland is going to work out long term for the Cleveland Cavaliers, there are definitely quite a few things that need to be touched up.

In terms of what would benefit Garland the most, I still believe that maximizing his minutes without Sexton on the floor at the same time is a major key towards his development, and he needs to be more aggressive as a scorer in those instances.

If nothing else, simply seeing Garland take more shots next season even if he misses them will be a step in the right direction. At times, it was almost as if he created a shot that was harder than he had when he first had the ball.

Next. Two bold predictions for Darius Garland for 2020-21. dark

If Garland slows the game down mentally in his head, he will be much better off and will have a much improved sophomore season for the Wine and Gold.