Cavs: Darius Garland-Damyean Dotson pairing could mesh well

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) /

It’s not simple to forecast exactly what kind of role Damyean Dotson will have for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s evident that Collin Sexton will be the starting 2 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kevin Porter Jr. should get a considerable minutes-share. I could foresee him Porter, who showed good passing feel as a rookie, getting some real burn for stretches at the 1, too.

But while it’s tough to suggest what his kind of minutes-share could be, I was a fan of the Cavs recently signing Damyean Dotson to a two-year deal for $4 million, of which the second year is non-guaranteed.

Dotson, who spent his first three NBA seasons with the New York Knicks, who drafted him in the second round in 2017, should be a floor spacing presence and off-movement shooter for the Cavs.

Now, as far as the opportunities, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently stated, via’s Chris Fedor that he’s “most comfortable with a 10-man rotation, seeing No. 11 as an X-factor, who will be used depending on the style of the game, matchups or specific moment.”

For further context, Fedor would report how Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro and Dylan Windler are battling it out for Cleveland’s starting 3 role. Dotson, who could play some at the 3 if needed, could at least be a good depth piece to have for Bickerstaff and company, though.

And in particular, I believe Dotson and Darius Garland could be a pairing to watch for at times for Cleveland in the backcourt.

A Garland-Dotson pairing for the Cavs could mesh well in spurts.

Garland, who reportedly had a really productive offseason, as KJG’s Robbie DiPaola recently highlighted, could very well have a bounce back season in Year 2 for him. Garland was somewhat underwhelming in the scoring sense off-the-bounce last year, and had 12.3 points per outing on a less than stellar shooting percentage of 40.1 percent.

Garland did have his share of flashes in Year 1, still, though, and as a passer, he seemed to become much more comfortable as his past season wore on. Garland had a better 5.1 assists per outing as opposed to his season average of 3.9 in his last 26 games active, and players such as Collin Sexton, Kevin Love, among others benefitted from that growth from DG.

To me, while of course others such as Sexton, Love and/or Isaac Okoro will have more deliveries from him in totality, I could see Dotson, a polished catch-and-shoot player, meshing really well in instances at the 2 alongside Garland.

Dotson is not likely going to be a key on-ball player for Cleveland in his minutes-share, but in spurts feasibly with Garland as a backcourt partner some, with Dotson moving so active off-ball, he could get great perimeter looks from him. That’d be via spot-ups/off-ball screens from passes from Garland.

DG again displayed encouraging growth as a passer as Year 1 for him progressed, and with Dotson being more so an off-ball player, in some spurts on the floor with him, he and DG could be a productive pairing with that dynamic.

Dotson hit 36.8 and 36.2 percent of his 4.7 and 3.4 three-point shot attempts the past two seasons with the Knicks, and 38.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts in 2019-20, per’s shot tracking data.

Those shooting splits are pretty notable to me, too, when accounting for how Dotson typically had such little space with New York.

He had 10.7 and 6.7 points per game in these past two campaigns, the second of which the arrival of RJ Barrett played into a declining minutes-share, but he was efficient when he was in there.

In some spurts with the likes of Dylan Windler/Cedi Osman and Love, for instance, and in instances as Garland’s backcourt partner, I’d imagine Dotson should get his share of good catch-and-shoot/off-movement opportunities, too.

Plus, with Dotson’s shooting abilities, Garland, who should be fully ready to roll this upcoming season, Garland could be aided as a driver/pull-up threat with Dotson as another spacing presence, let alone the off-movement prowess.

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Similarly, if off-ball defenders look to prevent Dotson off-catch chances, that could again aid Garland himself on-ball, or it could help players such as Isaac Okoro or Larry Nance Jr., to go with Windler, from there as cutting threats for Garland to dish to.

On the other end of the floor, while again I wouldn’t expect Dotson to be playing a ton of minutes consistently with Garland at the 2 game-to-game, Dotson could be a nice fit with him being a solid on-ball defender on the perimeter.

He’s fairly put together at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, does a commendable job mirroring guards/wings, anticipates pull-ups well and his off-ball feel has improved over the course of the past two seasons.

Moreover, to me, in spurts, a Garland-Dotson backcourt pairing could be a productive one in spurts and even potentially stretches, for the Cavaliers next season.

We’ll see what kind of opportunities arise for Dotson, and clearly, Sexton and Porter will be firmly in the fold, but Dotson’s off-movement shooting and constant motion could create headaches for opposing defenses when he’s in there for Cleveland.

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And rest assured, if the chances come with him at the 2 with Garland out there, the two could feed off each other.