The Cleveland Cavaliers are the surprise team in the Eastern Conference and point guard Darius Garland is a huge reason why.
Currently in the No. 4 spot at 27-18, the Cavaliers have been led by an infusion of youth and some savvy veterans.
But Garland is the piece that makes it all go, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff knows that.
Garland was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, as he averaged 20.5 points, 12.8 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game.
The Cavaliers have gone 5-1 in their past six games, with their only setback coming at Golden State in Klay Thompson’s return to the court after missing two seasons and 941 days.
After being named “ECFPOW,” DG then went out and put up a 22/12/6 slash line in a 114-107 MLK Day win over the Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets.
Garland set and controlled the tempo all game in the Cavs’ upset victory.
DG the PG … and POTW!
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 17, 2022
In a December interview with The Athletic’s Kelley Russo, Bickerstaff discussed the challenges of the NBA grind and how Garland paid his dues and can now reap the benefits of his hard work with a possible All-Star selection:
“I think that’s where you see guys become special. All these guys have an amazing skill set, or they wouldn’t be here. I think there’s a group that separates themselves because they have a commitment to being great and a willingness to do all the things that it takes to get there. And Darius puts the time in. He listens when you talk to him about what he needs to do. And then he has the ability to implement it as well. So, again, it’s a testament to him.”
Darius Garland tonight:
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 16, 2022
Garland Should Be An All-Star, Representing The City Where This Year’s Festivities Will Take Place:
“Believeland” hasn’t had a player sniff the All-Star Game since LeBron James departed the shores of Lake Erie for the second time following being swept by the Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals.
As the host city for this year’s All-Star Weekend, one would think Garland gets the nod from the coaches if he’s not chosen as a starter by the fans.
— Wiggins, Garland, & Dejounte All-Star szn‼️ (@vzlanyan) January 17, 2022
Garland has been simply sensational without his backcourt mate Collin Sexton (injured and out for the season), displaying a poise and smoothness beyong his years. His play in the half court has been a welcome sight for a team searching for an identity coming into the season.
Garland is the team’s leading scorer, shooting efficient splits of 47.6 percent from the field, 39.2 percent from three and 89.9 percent from the charity stripe.
DG is also the team’s top facilitator, setting up teammates for quality looks. It’s not unfair to call Garland the best Cavs guard since Kyrie Irving.
Darius Garland dimes it to Isaac Okoro for the slam!
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2022
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell offered his support to Garland’s All-Star campaign after a surprising loss to the upstart Cavs.
“Gotta give credit where credit is due.” Mitchell said. “And Darius Garland deserves to be in the All-Star Game.”
That night DG torched the Jazz for his first triple-double with 15 assists. Since then DG has had an 18-assist game against the Thunder.
Garland Was A Five-Star Recruit Who Attended Vanderbilt: He’s Also The Son Of Former NBA Player Winston Garland
Garland was the No. 2 ranked point guard in the class of 2018. He chose to play his college ball at Vandy, bypassing offers from traditional blue-blood programs like Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UCLA and Indiana.
Considered the most complete guard in the 2018 class, Garland only played five games for the Commodores before tearing his meniscus, effectively ending his collegiate career.
He was selected No. 5 overall by the Cavs in the 2019 NBA Draft. His shot-making ability and decision-making were likened to those of NBA superstar Damian Lillard prior to the draft.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 21, 2019
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