Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland-Jarrett Allen duo will be ready to roll

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Jarrett Allen was a heck of a trade acquisition by the Cleveland Cavaliers back in mid-January from the Brooklyn Nets. Allen was originally more so a bench contributor, and did at times play alongside prior Cavs 5 Andre Drummond, but soon after, ended up as Cleveland’s regular starting 5.

One can say what they want about Drummond and the Cavaliers coming to an agreement that he’d be sidelined until Cleveland could find a trade for him, albeit I was fine with it. Drummond would eventually come to a buyout with the Cavs post-deadline, and then signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Allen though, it’s evident that he looks to Cleveland’s starting 5 of the future, and is a far better fit than Drummond was.

Allen had 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per outing post-trade with the Cavaliers, and his interior presence at both ends and low-maintenance style of play often meshed well with the likes of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, among others. His rim protection on the other end is meaningful, too, even while we didn’t see it as much near the season’s closing stretch, and perhaps his prior concussion played into that maybe.

In any case, with Allen being just 23, and still I believe not a finished product, and having such nice touch as a finisher and being a quality roller, it seems extremely likely that he’ll be locked up this offseason. He could reportedly be signed to a $100 million-maybe plus extension, albeit regardless, Allen would appear to be a key long-term piece, and rightfully so.

In that realm, something that will be a crucial duo with him in coming years/the foreseeable future is his chemistry in a two-man game with Garland. That did prove to be a two-man game that was getting it done much of the season, as we know, but moving forward, they should have that going more and more.

The Garland-Allen duo will be ready to roll for the Cavs next season.

There were still some mistakes at times between the Garland-Allen duo, sure. That said, the two developed great chemistry even while not having been teammates for very long last season in the pick-and-roll.

Garland’s timing with his lob throwing to Allen led to plenty of dunks from those deliveries, and Allen’s huge catch radius led to him being an ideal target in that way for DG. Next season/moving forward, those dishes/dunks should lead to regular easy ones for Cleveland, too.

Allen, although he showed it with other guys at times as well, did a quality job at at times getting early interior seals, leading to passes from Garland that were on-time.

There were occasionally some turnovers/deflected passes in those situations, in fairness. But next season with them getting more experience together, I’d expect to see more of those instances if the Cavaliers can utilize movement off-ball with cross screens for example, leading to easy ones.

Along with those interior looks from Garland to Allen, while I wouldn’t imagine it’d be nearly at a similar volume, Allen has shown some ability to hit mid-range looks via the short roll. That I’d think we could see more after deliveries from Garland to him next season with the shooting threat of DG, and the same could apply with Sexton/Okoro/Cedi Osman some.

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From there, in regards to how Allen can help Garland in the scoring sense for the latter, I thought his timing with handoffs on the wing improved as the season wore on.

And with more experience, the two-man game between the two in that way could enable Garland to get more three-point looks via pull-ups right off that, or step backs. Plus, as a counter, Garland could get to more in-rhythm floaters as games progress from those quick handoffs/short feeds from Allen with Darius being able to get defenders chasing.

Additionally, though I wouldn’t expect it a ton, Allen did flash some nice passing via skip feeds and/or give-n-gos leading to relocation looks from time to time, so that could play out some with Garland here and there.

Lastly, as I’d think will be the case with others, with Allen being a great screener, he should aid the likes of Garland, Kevin Love, Sexton a bit and Dylan Windler, for instance, via flares/down screens/ at times elevator screens.

Moreover, circling back, while they did establish good chemistry last season as a duo, there were still some rough patches. But next season, for the most part, the Garland-Allen duo should be ready to roll for Cleveland, I believe.

I’d assume both should be fully set, whereas in the closing stretch of the season, Garland missed eight of nine contests due to a left ankle injury. And prior to that some earlier on, Allen had an eight-game absence because of a concussion, of which did lead to some miscues for the duo from there.

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Albeit to a large degree, they meshed really well last season, and I’d only think the DG-Fro two-man game should be all systems go at the outset of 2021-22.