Cleveland Cavaliers rookie guard Darius Garland did not have a first season to write home about.
The Vanderbilt University product averaged 12.3 points, 3.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game this year. In addition, he shot just 40.1 percent from the field.
While those numbers don’t jump off the page, the advanced statistics are even worse.
“Garland was last in Win Shares, Value Over Replacement Player and ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus — a player’s estimated on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions that also takes into account teammates, opponents and other additional factors,” Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor wrote.
Not ideal from a player who was taken fifth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
While Fedor believes that Garland deserves a pass, mainly because young point guards on bad teams rarely perform well, there certainly is a lot of room for growth for the rookie.
Garland was improving prior to the NBA’s suspension in March. He averaged 5.3 assists per game in January. He also scored in double figures in 14 of the 15 games that month.
Cavs center Tristan Thompson believes that Garland will bounce back in his sophomore campaign.
“He will be in LA. I will be in LA. We will be in that weight room getting it in,” Thompson said. “He’s got the shot and the feel for the game. He will be just fine.”
Thompson thinks Garland should watch film of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard to model his game after him.
“He has the potential to be a guy like that in our league — Young Dame,” Thompson said.
Only time will tell if that comparison is a good one, but Cavs fans certainly hope that Garland can find more success in the 2020-21 season.