The last week was about righting the ship for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing badly to the Milwaukee Bucks they turned things around to win three straight for a 3-1 record for the week, when considering Monday’s contest within the last span of outings, that is. They beat the Charlotte Hornets in double-OT, crushed the Miami Heat and won comfortably against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Cavs have averaged 114.3 points per game in those four games, and have had a defensive rating of 106.8. Cleveland has only averaged 26.8 points per game off the bench in those four games, which isn’t the best, but definitely could be worse. The bench unit has seemed rather lackluster and somewhat inconsistent in the past few games. Their 29.4 points per game off the bench currently ranks fourth-worst in the league.
The Cavs’ bench also ranks dead last in steals per game off the bench, with only 1.4 steals per game. To put it into context, the second-worst team is the Miami Heat, with 1.8 per game. 0.4 steals may not seem like a lot, but in reality it is.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a strong week with three victories. Which of the Cavs’ star guards earned the distinction of being “Player of the Week”
Anyway, enough about the bench. The Cavs’ starters this past week have looked phenomenal. Their 86.2 points per game from their starters rank second in the league, behind the Boston Celtics. Their 3-point percentage also ranks second for starters at 40.8 percent.
Anyway, the two players in the running for this week’s Player of the Week are Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. It took me a bit to think about who deserves this award more. Garland looked amazing, but so did Mitchell. With a bit of voter’s fatigue (even though I’m technically the only voter in this) and a bit of better playmaking, I picked Garland as this week’s Player of the Week.
Garland averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game in his past four games. He also had shooting splits of 55.6/50.0/87.5, which is very good, considering he shot seven 3-pointers per night. Also, he averaged a plus-10.5 point differential over the past four games, which adds up to a +42 throughout this week. Furthermore, his true shooting was 69.6 percent, and his effective field goal percentage 65.3 percent.
One thing that should not be overlooked is the fact that he had 5.5 turnovers per game, while also having two games where he had eight turnovers. What is even scarier to see is the fact that he has only had eight turnovers (the most he’s ever had) six times in his career, and two of those came just this past week. His assist/turnover ratio was not the best, as it was a miserable 1.4. His career assist/turnover ratio is a 2.0, so his playmaking has been a bit worse than it has been before.
However, his playmaking was the only real negative he had over this past week. His defensive rating has been 109.3 since November 16th, and his offensive rating was 116.8. He has only put up 40+ points three times in his career, and one of them was this week, against the Hornets.
Garland is putting up amazing stats again, and should have another All-Star-caliber season by the time the regular season is over. Will he be an All-Star? It’s tough to say, as the Eastern Conference is loaded this year, but I believe he, alongside Donovan Mitchell, will both be All-Stars. He is the well-deserving Cleveland Cavaliers Player of the Week.