According to former NBA star Vince Carter, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland knows he’s the team’s No. 2 option or “1A” behind Donovan Mitchell.
Carter spoke about Garland and had plenty of good things to say, and he does seem to believe the youngster understands he’s Cleveland’s second option.
“The one thing about his game, he understand when it’s his time and when it’s someone else’s time,” Carter said. “He’s great at getting everybody involved. He’s a great complement to Donovan Mitchell. He knows Donovan Mitchell, you’re our No. 1 guy. But he’s a great No. 2 guy, or 1A if you would. And Donovan Mitchell’s out, he steps it up to the next level ’cause remember, he is an All-Star, and he’s very capable of doing this night in and night out.”
Last season, Garland was undoubtedly Cleveland’s No. 1 option. He led the team in usage (among players who appeared in at least a dozen games) and was crucial to the Cavs’ success.
The former first-round pick earned an All-Star selection in the process and finished the season with averages of 21.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game.
As Cavs fans know well, the team decided to make a huge splash this past offseason by acquiring Mitchell. As soon as Cleveland acquired the three-time All-Star, the Cavs became a team with arguably two No. 1 options on their roster.
Carter is definitely paying Garland a huge compliment here. It takes a lot of maturity and humility for an All-Star like Garland to be willing to give up the No. 1 spot to a new addition. It shows that Garland cares about winning and team success far more than personal accolades.
So far this season, Garland and Mitchell have both carried big loads for the squad. Mitchell has probably looked like the team’s No. 1 option more often than Garland has, but that’s partially due to the fact that Garland has only appeared in roughly half of Cleveland’s games so far due to injury. As a result, he has looked shaky at times.
On Sunday, however, Garland reminded the NBA world who he is. He dropped 51 points in extremely efficient fashion, shooting 16-for-31 from the field and 10-for-15 from deep. He did so with Mitchell out of the lineup.
The bottom line for the Cavs is that both Garland and Mitchell are capable of being the No. 1 option when needed.
If one player is out of the lineup, the other can step up and carry the load. Similarly, if one player can’t seem to get himself going on a given night, the other can help pick up the slack.
Mitchell may ultimately emerge as Cleveland’s clear-cut No. 1 option, or perhaps he and Garland will take turns as Cleveland’s go-to player. What matters most is that the team finds itself in the win column as often as possible.