Cavs: Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen Team USA Select invites show promise

Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images /

Last season, Darius Garland looked like a different player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his rookie year, Garland had a fairly underwhelming campaign with 12.3 points and 3.9 assists per contest, and he did appear to be his full himself.

Part of the reason for Garland’s second guessing in-game was that he reportedly still had his prior meniscus injury, which cut his lone collegiate season at Vanderbilt to only five games, in the back of his mind. Garland’s shiftiness that he displayed throughout his second season, thanks in large part to the prior injury it seemed, was not shown close to as much in Year 1, as a result.

But in Year 2, Garland again looked to be fully trusting himself and he was far more aggressive, which led to him showcasing that shiftiness and with his handle, he proved to be so difficult to account for. That’s both in the scoring/shooting and playmaking sense, and in turn, he had a bounce-back second year with 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per outing.

Plus, he hit 39.5 percent of his three-point attempts per contest, which was a better clip than in Year 1, when that was 35.5 percent.

In the playmaking realm though, circling a bit back, a key recipient of Garland’s deliveries was Jarrett Allen, who proved to be a quality early-season trade acquisition from the Brooklyn Nets.

Allen, who could seemingly be locked up long-term this offseason by Cleveland (he’s set to be a restricted free agent), developed a really nice chemistry with Garland, particularly in the pick-and-roll, and that led to lobs over-the-top regularly for him.

In a general sense with Allen though, his finishing abilities with both hands with touch and with power often proved to be impactful for the Cavs, and with Cleveland during 2020-21, he averaged 13.2 points per outing.

Along with the cutting/rolling finishing and screening, both on and off-ball, Allen’s interior defense, when he was fully locked in/mostly healthy proved to aid the Cavaliers. The same for his rebounding, by and large; he had 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks with the Cavs during this now-past season, too.

Anyway, in relation to the abilities for both for the Cavs, in their respective ways, it is apparent that both could very well be core pieces for the Wine and Gold for coming years. And somewhat along those lines, thanks to what they’ve shown thus far even as young players, Garland and Allen were recently invited to compete for Team USA’s Select Team.

That was per a report, in Allen’s case, from Chris Fedor of, and regarding Garland, Cavs general manager Koby Altman shared Garland was invited to do so and will, via Evan Dammarell of Fear The Sword.

For what it’s worth, Allen, as Fedor noted, was originally a finalist for being selected as part of Team USA’s Tokyo Olympics squad, of whom Cavs big Kevin Love is going to be competing with.

Per a report from Dammarell though, Allen could entertain being part of the Select Team, but would not, from an injury risk standpoint, entertain potentially competing with the Olympic squad.

Regardless, this is good news from a Cavaliers’ perspective.

These Select Team invites for these young Cavs show promise for both.

Garland’s growth last season was great to see for the Cavs, and him getting experience for the Team USA select squad seemingly to come in Las Vegas against the Team USA Olympic team should be very meaningful for his further development.

Him being able to get some time going up against outstanding players will of course be meaningful from a playing/individual standpoint, and him being able to go up against but also pick the brain of players such as Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and others should pay dividends. That training camp is reportedly set to begin in early July and for Darius and company, will feature practices and scrimmaging.

Heading into his third season, I’d expect Garland to take another step in his progression and as was touched on, him being extended a Team USA Select invite is nothing to be discounted.

It will be big for his game/development sure, and shows there’s plenty of promise for his outlook as a crucial contributor for the Cavs looking onward.

And similarly for Allen, although we’ll have to see if he does end up participating with the Select squad, it would be awesome for him to have that sort of experience as well.

He could get some pointers feasibly from the likes of Bam Adebayo, particularly from an offensive standpoint (even while I’m not at all glossing over Adebayo’s defense), Love clearly, and from Draymond Green perhaps on the defensive end.

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In any case, though we’ll have to see if Allen is eventually locked up long-term, and if Cleveland potentially drafting Evan Mobley could affect that possibility, this sort of Team USA invite for him, and for Garland as highlighted, shows that both are promising young players.