Guardian of the Cavaliers Darius Garland is a star in the making

The Cleveland Cavaliers are vastly ahead of schedule this season, having eclipsed their win total from 2020-21 as they establish themselves as a true playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.

Behind the impressive performances of Evan Mobley’s Best Rookie of the Year, Kevin Love’s Best Sixth Man performance, and Jarrett Allen’s near-All-Star performance, the Cavs set the stage for success. distinctive.

But there is no greater difference-maker than Darius Garland.

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The third-year keeper has unleashed his star potential in his first two seasons, but through the first 48 games of the season, Garland’s consistency has stood out as he has been a regular starter. their best on the floor every night.

Just starting a five-game streak of 20 points, Garland scored again in a 95-93 win over the New York Knicks at home, scoring 13 points and 12 assists, becoming the first player since LeBron James (2017 -18) to record five consecutive games with 10 more assists. This tension gives Garland the longest streak for any Cavaliers player in the past 10 years.

That’s been the theme of Garland’s season, frequently naming him alongside the greatest player in Cavaliers history.

Earlier this month, he became fourth youngest player in the history of the Cavaliers franchise Triples record and is the only Cavaliers player since LeBron to do this in three-quarters of the past 25 years.

In the process, he gained the attention of some of the biggest stars of the league.

“Steph has reached far. Steph has reached far,” Garland spoke through The Akron Beacon Journal. “Donovan Mitchell, his compliments were really great. And then like some of my close friends in the league, like some of my big brothers like Tristan. [Thompson], Bron, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard. Like they just told me to keep going and keep pushing. I mean, it’s great to hear it from some of the best basketball players to touch a ball. “

One player who has seen a close development is Cavaliers veteran Kevin Love, praising Garland’s performance, especially in front of the league’s best defenders.

“I saw him take on Kyrie last night, and we talked about it this morning,” Love spoke during a recent appearance on the JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

“He has a lot of respect for what a great basketball player Kyrie is like, but I was almost like, ‘Darius, you’re up against one of the best absolute point defenders in the last 10, 20 years. , and you were great. You rightfully helped us win that game. ‘

“He continues to prove it. He continues to take the next step. I think he also understands, even if he doesn’t have a great scoring game, or he doesn’t shoot well from the field, like in Utah, he can still impact the game and win the game. us about some matches. of many ways. “

The 21-year-old has been the Cavaliers’ all-time performer this season, averaging 19.7 points, 8.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in shootouts. .464 / .360 / .913, leading them in points and assists. for a record 29-19, good at number five in the Eastern rankings.

Season-end injuries to Ricky Rubio (ACL) and Collin Sexton (knee) could easily derail the Cavs’ season, but Garland’s steady development has proven their injury problem.

After the third return of the 2022 NBA All-Star voting, Garland ranked ninth among the guardians of the Eastern Conference with 343,551 votes and although it may be a while before he can reach All-Star this season, the point is when, not if.

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