Darius Garland exudes happiness over being Cavs’ top ball-handler: ‘It just brings joy to me’

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are just 13-21 this season, but there are some positives that the team can enjoy from the first half of the 2020-21 campaign.

One of those positives has been the development of guard Darius Garland.

Garland, the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has taken a big step this season as a playmaker and scorer.

Last night, the Cavs were able to take down the Philadelphia 76ers, who are No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment.

After the win, Garland expressed his excitement over being the Cavs’ top ball-handler and the trust the team has in him.

“It’s giving us the ball, and they’re trusting us,” Garland said. “That’s the one thing that has really just made me more confident like they trust us. It’s super cool having the ball in my hands, and I know that my teammates and the coaching staff know that I’m going to try to make the right play 100 percent of the time.”

“It’s just really fun playing with these guys and playing for the coaches because they make everything fun,” Garland said. “We were in overtime just making jokes, trying to keep everybody uplifted. They had confidence in us that we were going to win that game tonight. It’s really fun having that behind you, so it’s not a lot of pressure or anything on the young guys. It’s just fun being in this organization because they have a lot of trust in us.”

This season, Garland is averaging 16.2 points and 5.8 assists per game. Last year, he averaged just 3.9 assists per game, but his playmaking has been much improved.

Garland explained the joy that he is having from moving the ball around in the Cavs’ offense.

“It just brings joy to me when I get an assist, I’m not going to lie,” Garland said. “When people are making shots, it’s fun to watch. That’s all I’m trying to do is have fun on the court, and when I’m getting everybody involved, I’m having fun, and they’re making shots, they’re having fun. It was a team effort. I tried to stay aggressive and find open guys.”

While Cleveland may be on the outside of the playoff picture, Garland’s development is key for the team going forward.

The Cavs are trying to build around Garland, Jarrett Allen and Collin Sexton. It may not show immediate results this season, but the Cavs’ young core has shown it has potential to make them a playoff team in the East.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.