Darius Garland shined bright in his preseason debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After much anticipation, Darius Garland made his NBA debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers. DG contributed to a 120-89 win over the San Lorenzo Ravens and impressed many with his smooth control of the game.
In just 14 minutes of playing time, Garland scored nine points and dished two assists. He made the most of every opportunity, shooting 4-of-4 from the field. His performance was inspiring for many Cavs fans.
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The Cavaliers felt his presence the moment he hit the floor. Prior to DG’s debut in the second quarter, the Cavaliers were shooting 7-of-23 (30 percent). Once Garland joined the lineup, the squad went on a 22-7 scoring run.
Garland was joined by Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson as he commanded the offense. The team played a fast-paced brand of basketball, running in transition as much as possible. Quick ball movement led to numerous open looks as the Cavs poured it on for a few minutes straight.
Garland’s first shot of the night was an electric step-back 3-pointer over the defense. This was followed up by an acrobatic layup converted off a pass from Love. In only a short matter of time, Garland was having a profound impact on the Cavaliers offense.
He was doing more than just scoring. Garland made the correct play at nearly every turn, zipping passes to open teammates constantly. Though these situations didn’t always directly lead to assists, his willingness to pass opened up the rest of the floor and led to many hockey assists for DG.
Last season, the Cavaliers did not have the luxury of lethal 3-point shooters at the guard position. Jordan Clarkson and Sexton were the team’s best options, but neither was elite. As a whole, the team ranked 20th in the league for 3-point field goals.
Now, Cleveland has elite 3-point talent in Garland. His ability to create off of the dribble has already begun to draw in the defense and relieve pressure from the rest of the team. In Garland’s first four minutes in the game, the Cavaliers knocked down three of their 13 3s on the night.
This will benefit Sexton and other shooters on the roster as the opposing defense will be forced to devote more attention to Garland. We can expect the Cavaliers to be a much improved 3-point shooting team this year due to his presence.
The lineup of Sexton, Garland, Osman, Love and Thompson showed signs of fluidity. These five players were responsible for the Cavs best run of the night and appeared to have all the signs of future chemistry together.
Sexton and Garland are set to make an interesting duo. The offensive dynamic between these two scorers is exciting and we got a brief glimpse of their potential last night. Meanwhile, Osman and Kevin Porter Jr. are showing signs that they can become excellent complementary pieces to the backcourt pairing.
As for Love and Thompson, they have a lot to offer to this young nucleus. There were a number of different instances in which I noticed Love pulling a younger player aside to give advice throughout the game. Cavaliers veterans will play an important role in developing this team.
Overall, this debut from Garland gave us a reason for excitement. The future is bright for Garland and the Cavaliers.