Report: Darius Garland Granted Lakers and Cavs Private Workouts

Darius Garland Vanderbilt

Among the many prospects the Cleveland Cavaliers are considering with the fifth overall selection in Thursday’s draft is Vanderbilt University guard Darius Garland. A new report indicates that only the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers had the opportunity to run Garland through a private workout.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN cleared up a mystery that had lingered since last month’s NBA combine:

“After Garland pulled out of the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month and sat out his agency’s (Klutch Sports) pro day in Los Angeles, draft pundits wondered whether he had received a promise from a lottery team. Garland and his agent, Rich Paul, lifted the smoke screen this week, however, as the guard granted private workouts to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers in L.A., sources told ESPN.”

Garland’s brief collegiate career has been compared to Kyrie Irving’s because of the two players’ similar experiences. Garland played just five games for Vanderbilt before suffering a meniscus injury to his left knee. That’s compared to Irving’s 11-game tenure with Duke University before a foot injury ended his one season there.

However, in those five games, the 6-foot-2 Garland averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists, while connecting on 53.7 percent of his shots from the field. Perhaps even more impressive was his 47.8 success rate on 3-point attempts.

Depending on the level of interest the Cavaliers have in Garland following his workout, the Lakers’ acquisition of Anthony Davis on Saturday could change their strategy. That’s because the New Orleans Pelicans are now in possession of the Lakers’ first-round pick, which happens to be immediately before the Cavs’ pick. Trading up one spot would thus involve making a deal with the Pelicans.

Garland will be bringing some basketball lineage to the NBA. His father, Winston, played for five teams in his seven years in the NBA, a career that ended in 1995.

Despite having only offered a glimpse of his overall talent thus far, McMenamin noted that Garland isn’t lacking in confidence.

“I humbly say this, I think I’m the best (guard) in the draft,” said Garland. “I mean, I think I can do everything that an NBA team wants me to do.”

Should he end up as a member of the Cavaliers, he would team with their top pick from the 2018 draft in Collin Sexton. That tandem would have the potential to develop into one of the top young backcourts in the league.

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