After his third season, which resulted in his first appearance in the NBA All-Star Game, it’s safe to say Darius Garland was no longer going to be surprising anybody with his play.
Garland had a breakout Year 3 in 2021-22, after he looked to have turned a corner in his second year, which was a bounce-back 2020-21 season in which he posted 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game.
Heading into his fourth season with the Cavaliers, the expectations were higher for Garland to have solidify himself as one of the game’s best guards, and keep elevating his play for the Wine and Gold. He was locked up as a long-term foundational player via rookie max extension for potentially up to $231 million with escalators last offseason, so the spotlight got brighter.
Unfortunately for the Cavs rising star, he suffered an eye laceration in the season opener at the Toronto Raptors, would miss the ensuing six games, and it was seemingly an injury that was still bothering him for a period of time after those absences as well. He dealt with sickness later on following the eye issue, and something that’s been so frustrating has been how Garland has gotten hit in the head so often this season at various points.
He hasn’t gotten missed time as a result of that or anything, it’s just been so unlucky for Cleveland’s primary offensive engine. But, for the most part, Garland has looked to have been himself this season, and after a bit of a bumpy start, has responded incredibly well.
So, when looking at his play, in particular, how has Garland graded out in his fourth year with the Cavs?
In our next edition of KJG Cavs Grades, we’ll examine Garland’s play throughout this 2022-23 regular season, beginning with his offense.