Cavaliers’ Darius Garland should continue to improve in this area

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Darius Garland had a bit of a tough start to last season because of an eye injury suffered in the season opener at the Toronto Raptors. That had to have been difficult for him to have dealt with for some time after his initial absences to come from that point, and it appeared following that to some extent as well.

All in all, Garland responded well to that ailment and with the arrival of Donovan Mitchell last offseason, too. Garland had 21.6 points and 7.8 assists per game last season, and he connected on 41.0 percent of his three-point attempts.

In his fourth year, even with some ups and downs, more so earlier on, he had a nice follow-up to his breakout, All-Star campaign the year prior. Garland demonstrated more growth as a playmaker and scorer for Cleveland, and going into his fifth year, he’ll keep showing why he’s one of the league’s top young guards and distributors in general.

One of the areas where he got better last season was his ball security, too, though. While that’s not the most noteworthy thing, it was meaningful, and hopefully, he can build on that.

Garland should continue to improve when it comes to his decision-making, and in turn, limiting his turnovers for the Cavaliers.

In recent seasons, Garland has established himself as one of the NBA’s best young guards and really playmakers in general. He again had just shy of eight assists per contest last year, and his passing versatility meshes well with bigs, cutters from the perimeter and shooters.

His vision, precision in where he hits receivers of his dishes, and his timing all play a role in Garland being such a talented playmaker. His own abilities as a scorer, driver and multifaceted shot-maker make him all the more capable as a passer, and he’s utilized those strengths to his advantage in making those around him better as well.

Garland also was able to cut down on some turnovers last season, and despite his struggles at times in Cleveland’s playoff loss to the New York Knicks, he did exhibit growth there for much of last year.

In the regular season, he had 2.9 turnovers per game and per-36 minutes, which was an improvement from the season prior, and as he gains more experience, he should be able to keep building on that.

Garland was able to cut down on some live-ball giveaways last year, which was another sign of development, and he appeared to be more comfortable as the year wore on in playing off of Mitchell.

Last season, there were still some bumps in the road for Garland, and he’ll still have to limit some giveaways in pick-and-roll off of a live dribble and/or along the baseline, but going into his fifth year, his decision-making will only get better.

Last season, he placed in the 54th percentile in turnover rate among point guards, per Cleaning The Glass. That’s not the greatest stat in the world, however, with all Garland does for Cleveland’s offense, and with how he placed in the 28th percentile in 2021-22 in that CTG metric, it was a positive indicator of where he’s trending.

Keep in mind Garland has placed in the 72nd and 88th percentiles in assist rate for the past two seasons, too, per CTG.

With Mitchell in the fold last season, Garland’s playmaking splits, but also turnover rates, were going to decline somewhat; one had to anticipate that.

All of that said, even with the playoff inconsistencies for Garland, and Mitchell, for that matter, both should play off one another better this coming season, and Cleveland’s shooting additions should help them and the offensive flow.

Driving the point home, though, while it’s not going to generate buzz and highlights the way his nasty dribble moves, big-time shots and passes do, from here, Garland continuing to get better as a decision-maker and game manager is crucial.

dark. Next. 3 possible starting lineups for Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023-24

For Cleveland to take another step forward, not only will Evan Mobley need to improve on offense; Garland has to keep finetuning his overall game and stay steady throughout.