Cleveland Cavalier guard Darius Garland has profession week

Darius Garland

Darius Garland
Photograph: Getty Pictures

I’m going to start out this by itemizing off a bunch of the explanation why Darius Garland has been ignored this season, not clarify them, after which provide you with a bunch of his spotlight reels as a result of this piece is about Garland.

  • Collin Sexton
  • The unbelievable Intercourse-Land nickname
  • Evan Mobley, Rookie of the Year 
  • His workforce’s shock success
  • Cleveland being Cleveland
  • Accidents to him and his teammates
  • LeBron James making an attempt to make use of All-Star Weekend in Cleveland to realize leverage over the Lakers
  • Ja Morant’s everlasting berserker mode of a season

Right here’s Garland going for a career-high 41 factors, together with 21 within the fourth quarter, with 13 assists to beat the Pacers on Tuesday.

The Cavs misplaced to Philly final week, however Garland uncovered the chink within the 76ers’ armor, entering into the lane at will and hitting bigs with drop-offs and lobs, ending with a career-high 19 assists. He additionally led the workforce in scoring with 26 factors.

When you have been in search of protection, an insane Cleveland sports activities’ followers has hand-selected a clip of him locking up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. (The tweeter failed to say SGA received 29, 9, and 6 that evening, however the Cavs gained and solely allowed 87 factors, enjoying the stellar protection they’ve leaned on all season, so I’ll enable it.)

Since getting the backcourt to himself Nov. 10, the third-year guard out of Vanderbilt has averaged 22 factors, 8.5 assists, and three.6 rebounds per sport (via StatMuse). For the season, his taking pictures splits are 48-38-91, tantalizingly near the distinguished 50-40-90 membership. He even earned an All-Star bid, and obtained an enormous applause throughout pre-game intros, certainly one of my favourite highlights of the festivities.

When you didn’t watch the highlights above, his sport doesn’t function high-flying acrobatics or borderline out-of-control sprints to the rim — regardless that as of late he has been sporting the Ja top-head dread ponytail look. Seven of his practically 17 photographs per sport come from behind the arc, however he’s a three-level scorer, ending 63 p.c of his makes an attempt inside 3 ft of the rim, and taking pictures higher than 50 p.c from midrange (per BasketballReference).

All the things he does is easy, and he’s a pure level, all the time answerable for the offense. Nobody advantages extra from a guard maintaining his head up and eyes open than massive males who know roll, seal their man, minimize off-ball, and convert alley-oops. Jarrett Allen fractured his finger Sunday and is out indefinitely, however he’s second in the NBA in dunks (164), and front-court associate Mobley is ninth (113). Clearly, kudos to them for being in the precise spots on the proper time, but additionally shout out to Garland for offering them with the inducement — the ball — to always be within the right place on the right second.

The largest concern with him is well being. He has missed 14 video games this season, 18 final season, solely 5 his rookie 12 months, however performed that many video games throughout his one season of faculty. The thriller surrounding him going into the draft and the next two years banished to the NBA’s cellar in Cleveland allowed him to develop in anonymity, but it surely looks as if you want jaw-dropping highlights, transcendent stats, or an off-the-court storyline to associate with your on-court efficiency to standout within the present NBA.

Except he begins yamming on guys’ heads that first one is out of play. The numbers might get there, however he’s proven a propensity for getting teammates concerned over getting numbers, and he’s sharing the court docket with a ton of proficient gamers, certainly one of which has the legit potential to be a less-talkative Kevin Garnett. So far as non-basketball-related nonsense goes, I hope the one time Garland’s identify comes up on First Take is for Cleveland’s success as a workforce.

For as a lot unhealthy luck he’s had getting the credit score he rightfully deserves, he’s had some good luck, too. Taking part in on an excellent workforce, with an excellent coach, in a metropolis filled with diehard sports activities followers is a blessing. Sexton taking place for the season was a foul break for Sexton however a spot of excellent luck for Garland as a result of he’s THE level guard now.

When Garland is averaging 25 and 10 subsequent 12 months and has a hopefully wholesome Cavs workforce squarely within the prime 4 within the East, possibly then he’ll get the love that comes with being one the league’s subsequent nice level guards.

Till that point, he’ll should accept little-known sportswriters screaming “DARIUS GARLAND IS A FUCKING PROBLEM!” into the abyss.

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