Why Darius Garland has a DeMar DeRozan problem

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Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a very strong start, better than anyone could have reasonably expected. They have won 23 of their first 42 games, already more wins than they totaled in 72 games last season. Their net rating of +5.1 is fourth in the entire league, and first in the Eastern Conference.

Darius Garland is leading the way offensively for the Cavs, who have lost Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio for the season. He is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and 3-pointers, running the offense as basically its sole shot creator and best playmaker.

Darius Garland hopes to make his first All-Star Game leading the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers. Why might DeMar DeRozan prevent him from getting there?

The best offensive player on a clear playoff team is almost always in line for an All-Star berth, and Garland certainly has the resume of such a player. He is eighth in the league in assists per game, has averaged over 20 points per game since Sexton went down, and just recorded his first career triple-double.

Garland is absolutely the kind of player who deserves All-Star consideration. That being said, they don’t gift wrap All-Star berths no matter how good your team’s underlying metrics are or how important you are to your team. And Garland’s path to his first career All-Star nod could be blocked by a player who is balling out in a different Midwest town: DeMar DeRozan.

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