After a fairly underwhelming rookie campaign, Garland bounced back in a big way with 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per outing, and it was apparent that he no longer had his prior meniscus injury dating back to college in the back of his mind. He reportedly did have that be the case in his first season; in Year 2 for him though, he looked like a different player.
Prior to missing eight of Cleveland’s last nine games last season, Garland was playing particularly well, too, and in April, he had his best month of his young career. In that stretch, he had 20.5 points and 7.3 assists per outing, and hit 38.5 percent of his 6.4 three-point attempts per outing in that span.
In Sexton’s case, he followed up an especially strong close to his second season, and again led Cleveland in scoring in 2020-21, this time with 24.3 points per outing.
And even while Garland’s absence near that ending stretch did likely play some into it, Sexton did also show further growth as a playmaker. He had 4.4 assists per outing in Year 3, which was a plus, too.
Nonetheless, it is pretty clear that looking onward, the Cavaliers as a whole do need to be more effective in regards to their three-point shooting; albeit Sexton and Garland were impactful in that way.
But Kevin Love having missed most of last season because of a right calf injury didn’t help, and to a lesser degree, Dylan Windler’s injury woes didn’t either, nor did Taurean Prince having been sidelined at various times, such as the season’s closing batch of outings.
Regardless, Cleveland does need to improve its three-point shooting, and a potential free agency target such as Doug McDermott of the Indiana Pacers currently, could help in that realm. Or Jalen Green, Moses Moody or Frank Wagner could do so via the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Cavs were second-last in the NBA in three-pointers made per outing, 28th in three-pointers attempted per outing and had the league’s lowest three-point shooting percentage.
That said, if Cleveland were to have Garland and Sexton shoot more from deep, that probably wouldn’t hurt. And that’s reportedly a point of emphasis being stressed by the Cavaliers for the two to hone in on in the offseason, per Spencer Davies of Basketballnews.com; Davies noted how his source stated the team is emphasizing getting up more threes in general, too.
"‘It’s something that we’re gonna really, really be focused on because we know we need to be taking 30-plus [threes]. We just have to,’ the source said. ‘Between Collin and Darius, they need to need to be at eight a game just ’cause they can really shoot. They have firepower.'”"
This is understandable from the Cavs for their talented backcourt duo.
To me, this is a bigger deal for Garland, who had 4.9 three-point attempts per game last season. His production on pull-up three-point attempts took a step forward last season, and even more so post-All-Star break, though, and that could very well continue in 2021-22.
He hit 35.7 percent of those looks overall, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data, and 38.2 percent of those shots post-All-Star. And he was very effective on step back three-point looks in that span and overall last season, too.
Along with that, one would assume Cleveland is looking for Garland (while of course his playmaking will be crucial in pick-and-roll) to shoot more PnR triple attempts from him game-to-game next season. So keep an eye out for that, particularly when switchouts happen for him and/or if there’s miscommunication at times from opponents relating to icing/hedging mistakes here and there.
I’d think we could see the Cavaliers look to get both Garland and Sexton some too, though, more attempts off movement from three as games progress, along with the aforementioned deep looks.
When examining the on-ball aspect from deep for Sexton, it’s not the simplest thing to expect eight or more three-point attempts per outing from him necessarily game-to-game earlier on, but we could definitely see it play out a bunch.
Granted, Sexton is a constant threat as a driver getting into the paint, leading to his share of free throw attempts, of which he had a considerable amount of last season, at 6.4 per game. Sexton also had a robust 12.4 paint points per contest last season, and in a general sense, his paint production in Year 3 was very impressive, as an aside.
I still want Sexton, and I’m sure the Cavs do, to attack and get downhill, and we should continue to see that throughout contests. With his speed but also ability to change speeds off-the-bounce, that leads to quality offense for him and we’ve been seeing him show more willingness/make better reads to counter defenses helping to him in those situations.
However, it is understandable that the Cavaliers are looking for Sexton to shoot more triple attempts, as he’s hit 38.5 percent from deep on 3.9 attempts per game through three seasons, and he still hit 37.1 percent from there last season on 4.4 attempts per contest.
It didn’t appear that Sexton was hesitant much on catch-and-shoots from three last season, but one could see here and there Sexton would go for mid-range looks instead of taking some looks at times off-the-bounce from three, objectively. That wasn’t a ton of the time I didn’t think, though.
Albeit from my perspective, in transition/secondary transition next season, I believe it could pay off for Sexton to take deep looks more game-to-game from there, and utilizing relocation some more in games could do wonders for him, too. That’d make him even more difficult to account for as a driver as a counter to that as well.
Moreover, as Davies’ report/his source highlighted, with how Sexton has proven himself to be a quality three-point shooter with the Cavs, and with Garland’s deep range, it is sensible that Cleveland’s pushing for them to get up more triple attempts from here.
Eight is a healthy number of attempts, but in a general sense with them respectable out there, it’d aid in stretching defenses out more. In turn, that could help other players such as Isaac Okoro, Jarrett Allen as a counter inside, and the likes of Kevin Love and Dean Wade as pick-and-pop threats.