Darius Garland’s confidence is soaring in the early stages of the 2023-24 NBA season, even if the youngster has already dealt with some adversity at certain points in the new campaign.
The Cleveland Cavaliers guard authored a standout performance on Friday night, and afterward, he explained why he believes that “nobody” can defend him.
“Nobody can really guard me, and that’s been my mindset for a couple years now,” Garland said. “I think I’m one of the best guards in this league. You have to come in with that confidence and the positivity that nobody can stay in front of you out there.”
On Friday, Garland scored a season-high 28 points while making 10 of his 19 field-goal attempts in a 108-100 victory against the Detroit Pistons in an NBA In-Season Tournament game. He also contributed three rebounds and three assists while stepping up in the absence of backcourt mate Donovan Mitchell, who was inactive because of a hamstring strain.
It was just the seventh game of the season for Garland, who did not play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday due to a neck strain. He is averaging 18.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season, with his points and assists averages down slightly from recent years.
The Cavaliers haven’t been the same team without him at the top of his game as they have struggled to a 6-6 start to the campaign. However, they are showing signs of a turnaround, having won three of their past four games and four of their past six contests.
Caris LeVert has been one of the players helping to keep Cleveland afloat, and his good start to the season has him aiming to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
But having Garland in the starting lineup and playing a full complement of minutes is vital to the Cavs’ success. An All-Star during the 2021-22 season, the Vanderbilt University product was the subject of some debunked trade buzz this past offseason. Former NBA player Paul Pierce also has questioned Garland’s chemistry with franchise star Mitchell.
Regardless, when he’s at 100 percent and playing well, it can be seen why he is considered one of the emerging young stars in the NBA. Once Mitchell is back to full health as well, the Cavs should be able to further right the ship as they look to secure back-to-back playoff berths.