3 best surprises for Cleveland Cavaliers this season, 2 biggest disappointments

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Darius Garland is confusing and exhausting this season for the Cavaliers

Before and after Darius Garland's bouts with injuries this year, he has never looked like himself. The Cavaliers witnessed what Garland can be since drafting him in 2019, but the young All-Star has hit a rut all season. At this point, it is not clear whether this has just been a down year or is a sign that Garland does not fit into the Cavaliers' system anymore.

Garland has still had high moments this season, entering history books with the team after spectacular performances. Unfortunately, Garland's best has only been glimpses amid a string of confusing turnover troubles and inexcusable late-game choke jobs. As the Cavaliers approach the playoffs, Darius has yet to establish any rhythm on a game-to-game basis.

At this point of his career, Garland has never made a positive impact in postseason matches. In the 2022 Play-In Tournament, DG could not lift the Cavaliers over the Brooklyn Nets or Atlanta Hawks. The Cavs' supporting cast was still young and raw, so Cleveland swung for the fences and added Donovan Mitchell to the roster late in the following postseason. In the 2023 playoffs, Garland still looked unfinished as a playoff prospect. The rest of the supporting cast was still underwhelming, too, but Garland was a non-starter still.

If Garland cannot recover from his down year in the postseason and give the Cavs some level of positive production, his tenure in Cleveland could be cut short as the front office searches for necessary upgrades on their path to the Finals. With Donovan Mitchell's contract extension at the forefront of the Cavaliers' priorities this summer, a bad playoff run this year would force the Cavs to make major moves to keep Mitchell around.