Cavs: 2 things Darius Garland can take from Chris Paul, apply to his game

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland is coming off a season where he took a massive leap in his young career. Upping his scoring and assist average while improving his efficiency, it became clear that he is Cleveland’s point guard of the future.

Garland had 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game, and after having been running with the USA Select Team/training with Team USA, Garland was recently promoted to compete in upcoming exhibitions with Team USA, as KJG’s Tyler Shelt touched on. He’s a player that after a strong rebound season looks to be on an upward trajectory.

That said, though Garland showed significant growth throughout his second season in the league, he still has a long way to go. There are some specific traits that other point guards have in the NBA that Garland can learn and take specifically from, and one player, in particular, jumps out in that way.

Chris Paul is currently in Year 16, and playing on the brightest stage, leading his Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals. Throughout the regular season, he proved that he is still one of the best point guards in the league, at the age of 35 averaging 16.4 points per game to go along with 8.9 assists.

There are a number of things Garland can look to take from Paul and apply it to his game that will help him take his game to the next level, but here, we’ll zero in on two that can help Garland take the next step.

The first thing Garland can take from Paul and apply to his game for the Cavs: Leadership

Though his style has come into question over the years, there’s no doubt that Chris Paul is one of the better leaders in NBA history. His ability to take command of multiple franchises and turning them into winners have been on display, even recently turning a Suns team that failed to make the NBA playoffs a season prior, into a title contender.

This was a Phoenix team that hadn’t made the postseason since 2010.

While he is young (21), Garland can learn to uplift his teammates (such as Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and others), similar to Paul by becoming a better floor general and vocal leader. And that could help him take the next step, for one, and become more well-rounded.

From there, we’ll move on to #2.

The second thing Garland can take from Paul and apply to his game for the Cavs: Improving defensively

Along with his elite passing ability, Chris Paul is known as one of the better defensive point guards in NBA history, as he’s made nine All-NBA defensive teams and led the league in steals six times. His IQ and anticipation have made him a valuable player over the years on that end.

If Garland wants to take his game to the next level, growing into a more competent perimeter defender would pay off. Garland has shown he can be a capable team defender, increasing his average in steals and he did show better timing as a helper to drivers last season.

However, he still struggles to play consistently when it comes to on-ball defense. If Garland can become more viable in that realm, and gradually get stronger, for example, that’d help the Cavaliers a great deal at the point of attack.

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Granted, others such as Okoro and Jarrett Allen can still aid him generally, but it is crucial for Garland’s on-ball defense to make strides.