Cavs: Darius Garland showed considerable growth in transition in Year 2

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports) /

There were growth signs across the board for Darius Garland in his second season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a rookie campaign that was fairly underwhelming for him, he had a robust 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per contest during this now-past season, and Garland looked like a different player.

In his rookie season, Garland did reportedly have his prior meniscus injury that cut short his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt in the back of his mind, though.

That seemingly was part of the reason he was playing somewhat timid, and did not have nearly the shiftiness, nor the same playmaking abilities off of drives/penetration he had in 2020-21.

The three-point shooting and deep range for Garland was often on display during this now-past season too, as evidenced by him knocking down 39.5 percent of his deep ball attempts then. In his last post-All-Star games, he hit 40.4 percent from downtown on 5.4 attempts per outing as well, and had 18.8 points per game in that span.

Plus, the on-ball shot creation, driving and passing abilities demonstrated by Garland last season and him looking to be so much more confident also played into him taking strides as a finisher.

In addition to the aforementioned areas, I didn’t discount how the young lead guard was noticeably better in the transition game, of which we’ll emphasize here.

Garland showed considerable growth in transition in Year 2 for the Cavs.

Again, the prior knee injury likely didn’t aid him in this sense, but Garland appeared hesitant in the transition game and was not nearly assertive enough when there were opportunities to get quality looks in those situations too often. His passing in those sequences wasn’t nearly as impactful as it was during his second campaign with Cleveland, paired with that.

The finishing in Year 1 was an issue, and him not appearing to have the same shiftiness game-to-game didn’t help in the open floor/early offense quite as much.

That said, there were too many times in-game when Garland was passive even when transition chances for himself, in particular, either as a perimeter shooter or driver were there and he didn’t show as much initiative as one would’ve liked. For a rookie point guard coming off barely playing at all even in college the year prior though, that’s not something I’m going to grill him for.

Still, in his second season for the Cavaliers, there was considerable growth shown in that area for DG in Year 2.

Garland placed in the 46th percentile in transition scoring for the season overall, per Synergy Sports, but as compared to the year prior, when he placed in the 15th percentile, I thought he was far more effective. The frequency increased from 11.7 percent to 14.9 percent, per Synergy, and the transition points increase from 1.6 to 3.1 was a positive sign, too.

More from King James Gospel

Also for further context, Garland’s effective field goal shooting clip went from 50.0 percent in Year 1 to 66.8 percent in Year 2 in those instances.

Objectively, his turnover rate in transition went up by 2.8 percent, but the positives outweighed the negatives in that way I believe.

We saw the change-of-pace in those situations for him, and the burst he had paid off for getting to the basket more, where he was able to finish with up-and-unders at times, and looks high off the window with both hands went down more.

Along with the interior play, while I’m not saying it was a ton of the time, Garland did seem to have confidence letting transition looks fly from the perimeter/three-point range.

That was not the case much in Year 1 it didn’t seem, whereas in Year 2, those sequences appeared to give DG more looks against unsettled defenses, and got him more in-rhythm.

And after those looks, it helped other guys such as Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen and/or Isaac Okoro/Taurean Prince seemingly with Garland’s threat from there to opposing defenses.

That wasn’t necessarily a ton of the time, but those plays are something I believe we could see more often from him moving forward, too, and would aid him in other areas I would imagine.

Next. 2 goals for Garland in Year 3. dark

Hopefully, this trend continues for DG next season/looking onward from there in the open floor/in secondary transition from game-to-game.