3 things Cavs fans should want to see from Darius Garland this season

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) /

Darius Garland is entering his second year playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 2020-21 NBA season is looming and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to make a jump. One player that is key for the team’s improvement is guard Darius Garland.

Garland was the fifth pick in last year’s NBA draft and in his rookie year, he had some bright spots, but didn’t necessarily tear it up. He averaged 12.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent from the three-point line.

Garland was drafted by the Cavs mainly because of his shooting and ball handling. He literally only played five games in college at Vanderbilt due to a prior meniscus injury, though.

DG drew a lot of early comparisons to Kyrie Irving because of this. The lack of games played in college along with the skills he possessed handling the ball. In fact, he does have a similar skill set to the former Cavs guard, at least in theory; albeit he has to tie things together more.

But, what should Cavs fans want to see from Garland in 2020-21?

The first is pretty apparent to most people who watch Garland on a game-to-game basis.

#1: Become a more steady shooter for the Cavs

Darius Garland has one of the prettiest jump shots in the NBA. But, there needs to be some more consistency when he shoots the ball. When he shoots the ball, from the release, it looks like it is going in.

Garland has got to hit those shots on a more consistent basis because this is what the team needs from him most. Garland could become the best all-around shooter on the team this year if he puts his mind to it; him hitting 39.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data, was encouraging, anyway.

For the Darius Garland/Collin Sexton starting duo to stay alive, Garland needs to connect more on his jumpers, in other areas, though.

#2: Do your job, and be somewhat more competent in terms of getting other Cavs involved

As the great New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would tell Garland, this should be his biggest priority this year. DG is going to be one of the biggest factors in Cleveland’s success this year.

But, he can’t do too much and try to expand his role more than he needs to and force things. The Cavs don’t need him to go out and average 20+ points.

A solid 15-17 points per game on a steady shooting clip along with perhaps 5-5.5 assists per outing (he had 3.9 last season), and improving his timing to get guys like Sexton, Cedi Osman and the promising Okoro better looks, would go a long way.

Garland showed some flashes of this last year, especially towards the end of the season, but again, he needs to do so with some more consistency. In the passing realm, him having 5.1 assists per game in last 26 games of Year 1 was a positive.

#3: Improve defensively for the Cavs

As we all know, the undersized duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland is one of the worst defensive backcourts in the entire league. With an extremely long offseason, hopefully, the two have had a chance to improve on their defense.

Obviously, this is a huge priority for his improvement if he wants to take his game to the next level.

Cleveland takes a big risk when they start both guards together, especially when facing good offensive teams. It would be big-time if Garland could become a better on-ball defender and slow down opposing guards.

In the future years past this season, it will be vital for the Cavs to make runs in the playoffs for the two to be at least solid defenders. Of course, other pieces for the team defense would factor into that, too, albeit Garland needs to make strides individually, anyway for the duo to have a chance.

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Hopefully, Garland can genuinely make improvements this year and help Cleveland win games and make a push for at least the play-in tournament, which is set to involve the 7-10 seeds.