Examining Garland’s game so far
Darius Garland, the second half of Cleveland’s young backcourt duo, has improved his style of play significantly since last year. Garland has averaged 16.1 points per game, along with 5.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds so far in the 2020-21 season. The second-year Cleveland guard has made strides in his game as he has seemingly fully trusted his knee, and is playing with more aggressiveness on the court.
From a purely visual analysis, it is obvious that Garland worked on his frame over quarantine, and reportedly did just that.
Additionally, Darius has come a long way from last year as far as shooting goes. Again, Garland did miss that eight-game stretch, but last year, Garland shot 40.1 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from the three-point line.
This year, he has trended positively to shooting 46.0 percent from the field, along with a substantial jump to 43.1 percent from beyond the arc. And him hitting having hit a sizzling 50.0 percent of his catch-and-shoot triple attempts, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data, has been big-time. Again, though, as is the case with Sexton, we need to see more deep attempts from Garland, in fairness.
Moving along, Garland’s defensive game has also turned a new leaf, with an average of 2.7 rebounds per game, and 0.9 steals, the Cleveland point guard has shown signs there. Now, Darius is not an impact defender, per se, but there’s been some growth. And it is still encouraging to see him making plays on both sides of the court.
Although Garland does have a few kinks he needs to work out from his play style, such as averaging 2.8 turnovers per game, his dedication to improving himself is a testament to the type of player he truly has become.
When Altman and the Cavaliers front office selected Garland a year after picking Sexton, it left many scratching their heads wondering why Cleveland would use their pick on another guard. Now, with a year under his belt, alongside a bonafide All-Star contender in Sexton, Garland is making himself known as the point guard of the future here in The Land.
Garland’s grade for the Cavs so far: B+
Now, let’s take a look at Damyean Dotson‘s game thus far.