Garland’s teammate Kevin Love revealed on J.J. Redick’s podcast the words of encouragement that he gave to Garland after the Cavaliers beat the Nets on Monday.
“I saw him go up against Kyrie last night, and we were talking about it this morning,” Love said. “He has so much respect for how great of a basketball player Kyrie is, but I’m almost like, ‘Darius, you went toe to toe with one of the absolute best point guards of the last 10, 20 years, and you were amazing. You helped us win that game in a major way.’
“He continues to prove it. He continues to make that next step. I think he also is understanding, even when he doesn’t have a great scoring game, or he doesn’t shoot great from the field, like in Utah, he was still able to impact the game and win us the game in a number of ways.”
The 21-year-old has arguably been the Cavs’ best player this season, averaging 19.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Garland’s respect for a player like Irving is normal, but Love clearly wants the youngster to realize that he is on his way to becoming one of the best guards in the NBA.
The third-year guard has helped lead the Cavs to a 27-19 record this season, and they are currently the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.