When Darius Garland was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 5 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, he was seen by many as a second-tier prospect in the draft behind the likes of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett.
Now, Garland looks like one of the best players from that immensely talented draft class and seems like he could be on well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star.
In fact, Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams recently pegged Garland as the toughest player to cover in the league.
“For guys like myself, the hardest people to guard are like Darius Garland,” he said in an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Pina. “Small, shifty point guards. The longer, taller guys, and the physical guys I’m OK with. I do a good job on Darius and guys like that, but for me, it’s always been a small, small, small point guard that’s really shifty and quick.”
While having a smaller frame is usually seen as a weakness in today’s NBA, Garland uses his 6-foot-1 size with lethal precision. He can score, find the open man and make plays at a very high level.
As he improves, and the young Cavs core around him improves as well, Garland will likely only become more lethal.
In the 2021-22 NBA season, many of Garland’s per-game averages saw boosts. He finished his season with averages of 21.7 points, 8.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. Surely, he will look to take those numbers to the next level next season.
As he gains more confidence in the league and improves his skills further, he will certainly become even harder to defend.