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Darius Garland Averaging Fewest Assists for Team Leader Since 1951
- Updated: December 15, 2019
The struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers this season are perhaps best represented by the fact that rookie Darius Garland’s team-leading 2.8 assists per game are the fewest for a team leader since the creation of the 24-second shot clock.
Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.com indicated that Garland’s average is the lowest since 1951. Kalbrosky also offered some perspective on where the rookie ranks compared to his contemporaries.
“To contextualize how bad it has been for Garland, who still manages to lead the Cavaliers in assists: The rookie has produced 2.3 assists per game in a set offense, per Synergy, which ranks No. 103 so far this season,” Kalbrosky wrote. “His assists per game when running his team’s transition offense (0.5) ranks No. 120 as well.”
To be fair, having a young rookie like Garland take the reins of an NBA offense was always expected to involve some growing pains. That’s especially true in Garland’s case, since he only played five games in his lone collegiate season last year.
One of the Cavs’ players directly impacted by Garland’s struggles has been veteran Kevin Love. Garland is averaging just one assist per 70 possessions to the 12-year veteran. That’s in contrast to LeBron James’ average of more than three assists per 70 possessions to Love in the final two seasons that James was with the team.
So far this season, the Cavs’ assist total as a whole is the third-worst in the NBA at 20.7 per game. Digging deeper, the Cavs’ passing average per game of 228.4 stands 16th in the league, but their assists on those passes are at just 7.2 percent, the second-worst average in the NBA.
Garland only has 25 professional games under his belt and the Cavaliers do not seem destined to reach the postseason this year.
For now, assessing Garland’s passing skills requires patience on the part of fans who are hoping that he can start to show real signs of improvement very soon.