Koby Altman Says Darius Garland 1 of Few Players in Draft With ‘All-Star’ Potential

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The Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of Vanderbilt University guard Darius Garland came just one year after the team had selected another guard, Collin Sexton, with their top pick.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman said that the choice to draft another young guard this season was based on the organization’s belief that Garland is a player with star potential.

Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com spoke with Altman on Friday, with the general manager offering a realistic approach to Garland’s development:

“We think he’s one of the few players in this draft who has a chance to eventually be an All-Star.”

The Cavaliers were able to conduct a private workout with Garland, with Altman noting how the Cavs came away very impressed, especially with Garland’s long-range shooting:

“When we saw him work out and saw him take 30-footers and just flick them like it was nothing. It was like, ‘OK, how can this work out?’ We started to get fascinated with the idea (of Sexton and Garland playing together).”

Cavaliers new head coach John Beilein had used the same approach of similar-sized guards at the University of Michigan, which seemingly increased the team’s chances of choosing Garland.

Beilein had explored the idea before the draft by asking both Sexton and Garland about the possibility, while raving how the potential duo would “be beautiful together and make me a much better coach.”

Prior to the draft, the Cavaliers also considered choosing University of Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter, but a deal hours before the draft ended that possibility. The Atlanta Hawks made a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 4 pick so that they could select Hunter.

Garland was the Cavaliers’ consolation prize, with the team not fearful of the fact that the rookie played in just five games at Vanderbilt before season-ending knee surgery. Perhaps part of the reason they were able to look over the injury concern was because eight years ago, the Cavs also chose a guard who had a brief collegiate career that was ended by injury. His name was Kyrie Irving.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.