Both Darius Garland and Collin Sexton appear to be on an upward trajectory for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the two are fresh off strong seasons. Garland had a bounce-back Year 2 with 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game, and canned 39.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
In Sexton’s case, he again led Cleveland in scoring with 24.3 points per game, and made playmaking strides, leading to him having 4.4 assists per outing. For a secondary playmaker, in particular, that was a plus, too.
In relation to next season, I would think we could see the tandem take further strides as well. Objectively though, it would be meaningful for the two to further lean into taking some three-point attempts game-to-game, with their shooting abilities.
Sexton has worked his tail off to become a quality catch-and-shoot threat for one, from three, and I’d think he’ll bounce back next season with off-the-bounce triples. No matter what way you slice it, he shot 37.1 percent from deep overall last season still, even after a rough March, and through three seasons, has hit 38.5 percent of his three-point attempts on a volume of 3.9 per game.
Garland, meanwhile, hit 39.5 percent from deep again last season overall, and his off-the-bounce three-point shooting is trending upward heading into his Year 3 with Cleveland. The deep range for the young lead guard really stood out in 2020-21, too.
For the two of them, though, as we noted, with how they can hit those, them pulling more from three could pay off for them and the Wine and Gold.
And on the subject, the Cavaliers are reportedly looking for Garland and Sexton to be putting up eight threes per game from here, of which is being stressed currently for an offseason focus for them each in the offseason. That’s per a report from Spencer Davies of Basketballnews.com, of which you can view more on here, along with other information on Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro and others.
So while one would assume we’ll see both with their share of on-ball looks from deep and/or via ball-swings leading to perhaps more spot-up looks, I could also foresee both Sexton and Garland to have more shots off movement. That’s not necessarily all from deep, though, to point that out.
Some more looks off movement could be in store for the Cavs young guards.
I’m not saying we should expect a bunch of looks off movement for Garland and Sexton, to be clear, as off-screen looks accounted for 6.3 percent and 4.1 percent of Garland and Sexton’s shots last season, per Synergy Sports.
They placed in the 64th and 76th percentile in those situations, though, and in a general sense, I wouldn’t be shocked if the chances per contest in those sequences doubled for both, which would be a meaningful wrinkle.
But with Garland’s range and quick release to get shots off, it’s something I could very well foresee Cleveland utilizing more of with him, firstly, in this case. Garland again I believe will take more three-point looks off-the-bounce via pull-ups, step backs and side steps, for example.
More from King James Gospel
- Koby Altman hits on how Cavs could be in-line for drafting star
- Cavs: Transition will continue to be crucial for Collin Sexton
- Cavs get #3 pick in 2021 NBA Draft lottery, can get difference maker
- Cavs: Kevin Love commits to play for Team USA in Tokyo Olympics
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 2 goals for Isaiah Hartenstein in 2021-22
We could see more of those type of shots from beyond the arc for Sexton, too, along those lines, though eight three-point attempts per game next season from him, with his paint scoring abilities, might not end up happening, nearly.
Albeit for Garland, circling back, I do think in his third season we could see more of him used via relocation, as we did seemingly see more of as his second year wore on, particularly post-All-Star.
I could see more give-and-gos with Jarrett Allen playing out at times, or from him curling around off-ball screens and getting deliveries back from Sexton, or perhaps Isaac Okoro.
Or if the Cavs do use Isaac Okoro more as a playmaker in the mid-post next season, as Davies’ report suggested they could, I could see Garland getting more looks from Okoro via swings after working to get to key areas for skip feed threes after movement.
In Sexton’s case, I could foresee Cleveland working to get him some more looks following elevator screens, down screens or flares to rise up for triples in that way, or for some looks near the elbows here and there as well.
Along with that, as a counter to opponents trying to shut off handoffs at times, Sexton could fake coming up to receive those, and instead relocate back toward the baseline for mid-range looks he cans, or going above the break for in-rhythm deep shots.
Point being, if Cleveland can get more playmaking game-to-game from Okoro, and/or if the Cavs can land a Scottie Barnes or Franz Wagner-type player in the 2021 NBA Draft, it could aid Sexton and Garland in the off-ball sense. The same could apply in spurts with a potential free agent target such as T.J. McConnell with part of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, or Frank Ntilikina some.
For Sexton, who could seemingly be in-line for a sizeable contract extension before next season, and Garland though, generating some more off-ball looks would pay dividends.
And some more off movement, of which I believe they both are capable, as we’ve seen encouraging signs of it, would make them even tougher to account for in games.
That’d help others such as Okoro, Allen, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Dean Wade, too, with even more defensive attention on the two young Cavs guards.