Cleveland Cavaliers: How Kevin Love impacts Darius Garland

Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

Rebuilding the Cleveland Cavaliers in a post-LeBron James era for a second time will always bring about its challenges. It is during these times in a team’s life, when the balance between young, dynamic players, and solidified veterans becomes crucial. Cleveland’s young core has taken shape in the city and begun to breathe new life in the team.

Among that young core, is Darius Garland. Garland is one of the team’s most impressive players.  Over the course of the 44 games Garland has played in this 2020-21 season, he has averaged 16.9 points per game, to go with 5.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds.

When it comes to Garland, the presence of Cleveland’s veteran forward and champion, Kevin Love, can elevate his style of play. Due to right calf injury complications, Love has only played in 11 games this season, in which he has averaged 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per outing.

With these two key Cavaliers in mind, here, we’ll examine the duo of Love and Garland on the floor, and discuss just how the veteran big man can elevate the game of the young guard with him back in the fold.

Love’s impact on Garland’s scoring capabilities for the Cavs

From my perspective, Darius Garland has one of, if not the highest ceiling out of Cleveland’s young core.

In this latest stretch of games, that he was active for, DG had been on a roll, putting up a career-high 37, 21,19 and 17 points in his last four appearances respectively. Garland’s shooting has improved significantly throughout this season, too.

In his most recent appearance against the Charlotte Hornets, Garland put up 17 points, along with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. The dynamic second-year guard shot 53.8 percent from the field, in addition to 42.9 from beyond the arc, and on the season, is currently shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range on 4.7 attempts per game.

With Love on the court, though, in particular, Garland has seen some key upgrades in his shooting prowess. Since Love’s return, the driving lanes have been more open for Garland to utilize. The veteran provides Garland with some essential spacing on the floor, giving Garland more opportunities to find his chance to score.

With Love’s size and Garland’s ability to read the court, their presence together can result in a lethal combination if executed properly.

Garland’s scoring has improved significantly throughout this season. This was evident in his career-high night at the San Antonio Spurs last week where he came away with those aforementioned 37 points, and Garland shot 63.6 percent from the field in that one, coupled with 50.0 percent (5-of-10) from 3-point range.

Going beyond just the physical presence of Kevin Love on the court, the big man can also provide Garland some good old fashioned bona fide wisdom in the art of shooting. Love recently just made Cleveland Cavaliers history, surpassing the legendary Mark Price to go to second all-time in 3-pointers made with the Wine and Gold.

If anyone can pass on some shooting knowledge to Garland, Love is the man for the job.

Love’s impact on Garland’s playmaking for the Cavs

Darius Garland is proving himself as the point guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers moving forward. In order for a point guard to find success, they must do what point guards do: read, feed, and lead. With Kevin Love back in the lineup, Garland can surely accomplish all three, and at a high level.

Love’s presence on the court can also have an impact on Garland’s passing abilities, clearly. With Garland being looked on as part of the future for this team, the Cavs want him to feel confident as a playmaker.

Garland has been solid at reading the floor. Albeit when Love is on the court with him, Garland has a great pick-and-pop threat to work with against opposing teams. Garland’s assists have the potential to improve with Kevin Love.

As a polished big man shooter/floor spacer, Love gives the Cleveland point guard an efficient target to feed throughout the game, so long as he’s in there.

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The more confident Garland becomes as a playmaker, the more he will grow into his role as a leader on this young team. And Love can help him accomplish this as the season continues.