Darius Garland is (mostly) back to form and is proving himself for Cleveland
After being snubbed from last year's All-Star festivities, Darius Garland is quickly becoming one of the league's most underrated stars. His season started slow with injuries and inefficient play. Garland is still averaging a career-high (3.9) in turnovers, but his recent performances have dramatically brought this down.
In three games this week, Garland had only five total turnovers and averaged 26.7 points and 6.7 assists on 52/29/88 shooting splits. Undeniably, Garland's 3-point shot is still eluding him, but his overall impact is beginning to return for Cleveland. Against the Magic, Garland's 36 points kept the Cavs in the game until a late game collapse as the Magic went on run after run.
As the captain of the Cavaliers, Garland is going to be a critical piece in the rest of this road trip and beyond. As the Cavs approach a haunting defensive backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White in Boston, Garland's passing efficiency and patience will be tested. If he can retain his recent improvements in ball security and energy, the Cavaliers may easily return to northeast Ohio with a hopeful record and better positioning in the East.
Going forward, the Cavs have roughly three months until the mid-February trade deadline. If they can keep healthy for an extended period of time, then the necessary changes can be properly recognized and addressed before the clock expires. Thankfully for Cleveland, some of their answers may be sitting in the G-League with their latest batch of rookies. Both Craig Porter, Jr. and Emoni Bates are displaying the two exact skillsets the Cavaliers would appreciate in their current itiration.
Next up the Cavaliers will compete against the Boston Celtics on the road tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 pm ET for the first of a two-game miniseries against the top team in the Eastern Conference.