Darius Garland will be heading into his fifth season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023-24, and he should be in for another quality campaign. He has established himself as one of the game’s top lead guards in recent seasons, with his playmaking, vision and scoring repertoire all being on display for Cleveland. Garland is the Cavs’ top offensive catalyst, which results in him creating ample opportunities for his teammates in games, such as Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley, among others.
As Garland gains more experience, he’ll get better and better as a playmaker, decision-maker and versatile offensive weapon. He was one of only nine NBA players last regular season to average 20-plus points and seven-plus assists, and he hit 41.0 percent of his three-point attempts then.
Garland is going to generally be a player who will be balanced as it relates to playmaking and scoring, and that’s going to likely remain the case. At times, though, Cleveland might benefit from him being a bit more aggressive as a scorer/shooter.
Garland is a tremendous shooter, and he’s very polished both off the catch and off the bounce. He has big-time range as well, and in that regard, this was definitely a stat that demonstrated how capable Garland is as a deep threat, via basketball account StatMamba on X/Twitter.
Some will admittedly dismiss this as an arbitrary stat, with the 30-foot mark maybe being their reasoning there, or just how the league is predicated on threes more than ever. That’s especially true for plenty of perimeter players, and a number of frontcourt players, even.
Nevertheless, while Garland’s volume of shots within that criteria have paled in comparison to that of Damian Lillard, Trae Young and Stephen Curry, Garland hitting 38.3 percent of his attempts from that range does show he’s an elite shooter.
Garland’s shooting reputation is not at the level of those three players, in fairness, and whether or not they’re hitting those looks, their presence does bend defenses more, particularly when it comes to Lillard and Curry. Those two are outstanding movement shooters as well, and Garland has shown he’s a talented off-screen and relocating shooter when the opportunities have presented themselves.
Now, regarding the above tracking stat from StatMamba, this isn’t suggesting Cleveland should just be having Garland hoisting up shots from way deep all the time. He’s one of the game’s best passers, got better last season with his decision-making, and he’s typically done a commendable job of not forcing things and taking the Cavaliers and himself out of rhythm.
All of that being said, moving forward, with Garland’s ability to shoot the ball both off the catch and off the bounce from way downtown, one could argue he should be more aggressive from three-point territory.
Garland’s volume from deep dropped a bit last season with Donovan Mitchell’s arrival, but factoring in J.B. Bickerstaff’s desire for Cleveland to have more ball and man movement this coming season again, like in 2021-22, that could seemingly mean more off-ball/movement looks for Garland. If that occurs, it could bode well for him feasibly opening up more quality shots for others, such as Max Strus, Georges Niang and Evan Mobley, with Garland’s shooting skill set.
Hopefully the Cavs do all they can to truly maximize Garland’s shooting repetoire this coming season, and for the foreseeable future. That’d be key for the playoffs as well.