Cavs: Trae Young’s floaters are key, which should matter to Darius Garland

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland shoots the ball. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

It’s difficult for me to be too critical of Darius Garland for his performance in his second season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a fairly underwhelming rookie campaign in which he did reportedly still have his prior meniscus injury that cut his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt still in the back of his mind, Garland rebounded in Year 2.

He had 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per outing, and in games in which he started (there were a handful he didn’t coming over injuries), he had 18.2 points and 6.3 assists per contest. On the season, Garland hit 39.5 percent of his three-point attempts overall, too, which was a plus.

In a general sense, although it was unfortunate that he missed eight of Cleveland’s last nine games because of a left ankle sprain, Garland, by and large, looked so much more comfortable in Year 2. He appeared to be far more confident in his abilities, and while there were flashes of it in his rookie season, way more frequently game-to-game, Garland’s shiftiness was on display last season.

Again, him not second guessing in relation to his prior meniscus injury was a key reason for that being the case, but either way, it was a pleasure to see him come into his own for the Cavaliers.

One area where I’m sure many Cavs fans, and reportedly those within the organization want to see Garland take further strides is with his three-point shooting volume/aggression, though.

With the deep range and handle Garland has, and with his ability to shoot off movement too, he needs to be taking more than the 4.9 three-point attempts per outing he attempted last season, and the same does feasibly go for Collin Sexton.

And as we noted, the Cavs are reportedly looking for both to increase their three-point shooting volume looking onward, and per a report from Spencer Davies of, Cleveland wants both to be shooting eight triples per game. We’ll see game-to-game on that, but the mindset is one that does stand out.

Nonetheless, for both Garland and Sexton, the floater game is one that still will be meaningful, and while they do need to take more threes, it’s still a shot both will have to take at times to get into a rhythm. Guards do have to have that in their bag, anyhow.

And on that subject, and particularly with Garland, something that has recently jumped out to me is how Atlanta Hawks budding superstar Trae Young still goes to that floater well, and that even with his range, understands that’s a shot that can get him going. That’s always been the case for him sure, but even in his first postseason run, it has.

Young’s floaters are key, which should be telling for the Cavs’ Garland.

Now, I know Garland isn’t the shooter that Young is, and while he has an impressive handle/set of counters to create space, he’s not Young in that way, who is among the NBA’s elite in that regard.

But Garland is a very talented ball handler and can create space pretty effortlessly in his own right, and to drive it home, with him being another lead guard with real range from beyond the arc, I do want to see him take more threes game-to-game. That’d only make him more capable of a playmaker, too.

More from King James Gospel

Albeit as we hit on with Young, the floater game is still going to be a way for Garland to keep himself in-rhythm at times in-game, and it still will matter. Young has proven that too, and while Garland was not as efficient overall, he did still show throughout games a fair amount that he can get to his spots and hit in that area, especially in pick-and-roll.

In Young’s case, though, driving floaters were the highest volume of shot type for him this season, and he hit 47.4 percent of those 306 attempts, per’s shooting data. And on driving floating bank shots, he knocked in 73.7 percent of those on 19 attempts.

For Garland, by comparison, he hit 38.5 percent of his 143 floater attempts, again, per’s shooting data, but hit a far better 56.4 percent of his driving floating banks on 39 attempts this season.

Anyway, the point I’m getting at here is, though Garland himself needs to increase his three-point attempts next season, as he did in April, for example (6.4 threes per outing in that stretch), as Young is showing, on-ball, Garland still can get in-rhythm in games by hitting floaters at times.

The threat of those could also aid him in getting the likes of Jarrett Allen involved as a counter over-the-top, as we’ve seen, and a counter to that can hopefully be more three-point looks to others. And Kevin Love hopefully being more involved game-to-game/healthier could help Cleveland attempt/hit more threes, of which while injuries didn’t aid them, they didn’t get close to enough of last season.

The likes of Dean Wade and Taurean Prince, when he was in there, were bright spots in that way though, and Dylan Windler, if he can find his rhythm, can definitely aid Cleveland in that realm next season, I believe, if the chances arise.

But to re-emphasize, for Garland, in particular, as Trae Young has shown, and in the postseason currently for Atlanta, floaters are still going to be a good way for Darius to keep himself on track in games at times, and they can enable him to get to other counters with more success.

That could help his teammates, from a DG playmaking standpoint, too, as we noted and have done so for Young. That’s regardless of him having better, more proven shooters around him for stretches such as Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and John Collins/Danilo Gallinari.

Next. Cavs: One thing each member of Cavs' young core should look to improve on. dark

So here and there, I am fine with some floaters for Garland; point guards have to take those at times still.