Where do Cavs’ Garland and Mitchell rank among NBA’s best backcourts?

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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It’s crazy how fast time flies sometimes. It was only 38 days ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz shook up the NBA landscape by sending Donovan Mitchell to the Cavs for future first-round picks, pick swaps, along with Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and Ochai Agbaji. Now the Cavs have won eight in a row and are a real contender in the Eastern Conference, even though their star-studded backcourt have only played together in two full games.

Darius Garland suffered an eye laceration, and only played 13 minutes in the season-opening loss to the Toronto Raptors. Without Garland, Donovan Mitchell took command of the Cavalier offense and have led them to a 8-1 record. With Garland out, Mitchell averaged 32.4 points per game, while also dishing out seven assists a game, and playing strong defense.

There’s no doubt that Mitchell has elevated his game since his trade to Cleveland, including scoring the third-most points in league history by a player in their first eight games with a new team, per Justin Kubatko of Basketball Reference. But with Garland’s return recently, especially, the Cavaliers true potential is beginning to show.

In his first game back from injury, in an overtime win over the Boston Celtics, he scored a team-high 29 points, while shooting 5-of-11 from three, and dishing out 12 dimes. Oh, and Donovan Mitchell was great as well, finishing with 25 points, including a great alley-oop finish on a pass from DG. Then again on Sunday, the backcourt combined for 57 points, including 42 of the team’s 58 points in the first half.

Clearly both have been excellent, but where do they rank among the best backcourts in the NBA? Well, they are one of the best, that’s for sure.