Cavs: Darius Garland’s off-bounce shooting will determine his ceiling

Darius Garland needs to be more efficient as an off-the-bounce shooter for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Darius Garland‘s numbers in his rookie season for the Cleveland Cavaliers showcased some of his potential. He averaged 12.3 points per game on 40.1 percent shooting from the field and shot 35.5 percent from three-point range.

Compared to the other rookies in the NBA, he ranked 10th in scoring. The nine rookies ahead of him all played in an average of 56 games (excluding Zion Williamson who played in 24 games due to injury).

Granted, Garland did have his ups and downs, but played in 59 games (of 65) and started all the games he played in (impressive for any rookie). Most rookies usually will start the season coming off the bench. Rookies sometimes have trouble finding their flow early on in the season so coming off the bench does not seem like a bad idea.

Again, Garland did have rough patches in year 1 at times, and him still reportedly being affected by a prior meniscus injury in his short stint at Vanderbilt didn’t help, but he again showed plenty of potential.

But looking at next season, it’s evident that his off-the-bounce shooting needs to be more consistent. Garland hit only 37.5 percent of his pull-ups, which you’d like to see him improve upon with how he had a frequency of 45.1 percent, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data.

For Garland, off-the-bounce shooting will determine his ceiling for the Cavs.

Workouts for Garland in the offseason, even with those being mostly individual to this point due to novel coronavirus concerns, have been important, as off-the-bounce shooting is critical for players in the NBA. In late-game situations, you might have to dribble up the floor and get a quick shot up before time runs out. Some of the best players’ off-the-bounce game improves consistently so for Garland, improving in this area will be key.

Garland being 6-foot-1 gives him a disadvantage. Most guards in the NBA are around 6-foot-3-6-foot-5 and with Garland being shorter than the average guard, his off-the-bounce game will need to improve.

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You can be a catch-and-shoot shooter, but if you do not have a good off-the-bounce game, defenders will see that and make you work to get open. You cannot improve your height, but you can work on getting around defenders and making shots down the stretch.

Garland’s off-the-bounce game can make him a go-to option at times for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Collin Sexton’s speed and Garland’s shooting, the Cavs can make plays in key moments.

When Sexton is off the floor, Garland will need to step-up for the Cavs. If Garland can continuously improve his craft, the sky is the limit for him, and on the plus side, him hitting 46.6 percent on step backs, per NBA.com’s shooting data, was encouraging.

In any case, there are so many good drills that can benefit basketball players. One of them that can help Garland’s off-the-bounce game is dribbling twice into a pull-up. I’ve worked in basketball long enough to know which drills are the best at improving a player’s ability to shoot the ball and this drill is the most common one players use.

Another drill that Garland should do, and I’m sure is doing, is a two-dribble crossover into a jumpshot. In basketball, the first move can give you some space from the defender to shoot a jumper.

Working on your crossover is something players work on all the time. Dribbling the ball and then doing a crossover can get the defender off-balance and allow you room to get a shot off.

Furthermore, crossovers can be the key to winning a game in late-game situations. If you need a bucket with little time on the clock, the two-dribble crossover drill can be the move that most players go to and this will showcase how well their off-the-bounce game is.

I’d imagine Garland has been working on that throughout what’s been an extended offseason, and hopefully, we see him as a more efficient off-the-bounce shooter in year 2. His performance in the Cavs voluntary in-market bubble team workouts was a positive sign it’d seem for his overall scoring outlook for next season, though, as KJG’s Grant Puskar hit on.

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Moreover, looking onward, his off-the-bounce shooting will determine Garland’s ceiling, as that could really unlock him, and could aid him as a driving threat/playmaker for others such as Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Kevin Porter Jr.

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