Cavs’ Darius Garland should have more of these quality looks in 2022-23

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/NBAE via Getty Images
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/NBAE via Getty Images /

Last season, Darius Garland was magnificent for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he built on a bounce-back season in 2020-21 to making an All-Star leap in 2021-22.

Garland had 21.7 points and 8.6 assists per contest last season, and was one of the two Cavaliers to rep the then-hometown squad in the 2022 All-Star Game. He truly came into his own as both a playmaker and multi-faceted scorer for the Cavaliers last season, and entering his fourth season next month, he’ll look to keep ascending as one of the top young guards in the NBA.

Garland’s timing, vision and precision as a playmaker for others, combined with his handle, range, change-of-pace abilities and touch make him so difficult to account for for opposing defenses throughout games. With more experience, he should only become more dangerous, too.

Garland was also one of the bright spots for the Cavs in the closing stretch of last season, when the club had inconsistencies, somewhat because of injuries, and inexperience played a role then as well. He was still outstanding, for the most part, in a tough stretch for the team in that time, and should be able to keep getting it done looking onward.

This next season ahead, though, I would imagine we should see Garland be able to have more opportunities to progress as an off-ball contributor, with the trade arrival of Donovan Mitchell, and with Garland being able to play off Evan Mobley and potentially others, some more at times.

He should have a higher frequency of catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, too, which should enable him to be in a better rhythm in that aspect.

Garland should have more catch-and-shoot deep balls for the Cavs in 2022-23.

I’m not going to suggest that Garland wasn’t an impressive marksman from three last season, especially with the injuries the Cavaliers had to endure last season, and Garland was banged up a fair amount of the season’s second half himself.

He knocked in 38.3 percent from downtown on 6.7 attempts per outing, either way, which was not something that should be discounted, also with his playmaking for others factored in. But as we hit on, the off-ball chances should be more prevalent for him next season, and the catch-and-shoot threes more, feasibly.

Prior to the trade, I’d have expected that to occur, and with Mitchell involved, Raul Neto I’d think a bit, and others such as Caris LeVert and Evan Mobley, Garland should have more off-ball shooting opportunities. Ricky Rubio I’d assume, when he’s back from injury in December/January, is another crucial player that can make a difference in that regard for Garland, too, given how the two actually meshed very well in roughly the first third of last year.

Point being, Garland should have more in-rhythm catch-and-shoot looks next year, and while he didn’t close out last season shooting well on those, probably somewhat because of fatigue post-All-Star, he should have more sufficient supplemental playmaking. Post-All-Star, his catch-and-shoot three-point clip was only 29.4 percent, albeit with a frequency of 12.4 percent, per’s shooting data.

In that span, he connected on 46.3 percent of his pull-up three attempts, though, on a frequency of 19.7 percent. That’s encouraging for what’s to come in the near future, too, for what it’s worth, in relation to his shooting profile.

However, it should pay dividends for Garland and for preserving him throughout the 2022-23 campaign for him to have more quality looks as a shooter from other taking the reigns to initiate for shooters maybe more consistently than last season, by comparison. Of course, health plays into that, but Cleveland should have more options there, and I’d imagine Mobley should be able to build on the secondary playmaking signs he demonstrated when given the opportunities last season.

I’d anticipate we’ll see Garland have better looks in those off-ball chances, say with Mitchell handling on-ball initiation more, for one, and Garland’s percentages should be solid early on, I believe. And that closing part of last season wasn’t concerning, really; overall, his catch-and-shoot hit rate was 35.4 percent.

Perhaps with the Mitchell arrival, theoretically as would’ve been the case with Collin Sexton back healthy had he not been traded, we could see Garland have some more movement/relocation opportunities as a shooter as well.

There have been promising sequences in that aspect of Garland’s offense, and that could help open up others as cutters if it’s a true part of his repertoire this coming year and others to come, too.

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Moreover, greater prevalence of off-ball chances should be there for DG in Year 4, and he’ll capitalize.