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Best case, worst case: Darius Garland

It’s going to be an interesting rookie year for the Cavs’ top pick.

2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Best Case

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): Garland ends up being the best rookie point guard in the class — better than Ja Morant, better than anyone. His offensive game is versatile, he spaces the floor with deep three-point shooting and fits well enough with Collin Sexton. Meanwhile, his passing and defense are good enough to not look like a disaster going forward. With that season, Garland firmly establishes himself as part of Cleveland’s core, perhaps one of the two biggest pieces.

Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): Rookie of the Year. Either through Zion’s body not holding up, or simply having a Kyrie/Lillard like rookie year where there isn’t much of a hiccup translating his offensive gifts to the NBA game. Garland has a very solid handle and the ability to shoot from anywhere off a live dribble. Players that can do that at the NBA level are almost always productive.

If he can do that, he can put up numbers and numbers get you Rookie of the Year consideration. Learning how to truly run a team, play defense and making a real impact on the game are things that will come in time, but for Garland to be a guy that can efficiently fill a box score and put butts in the seats year one is good enough for me.

David Zavac (@DavidZavac): He’s the level of prospect that can reasonably expect to be in Rookie of the Year conversations. The best case scenario is that he plays 60+ games, and shows enough quickness and agility to get his shot up off the dribble. I don’t have much of a reason to doubt that ability, but I don’t have much evidence of anything given his limited time in college basketball. If he is healthy for most of the season and hits 37% of his threes on high volume, that’ll be worth getting excited about. Ideally he’d show off some vision as well — his high school coach believes in his passing ability.

Worst Case

CM: Defensively, he is as bad as worse as Sexton was last year. In the full context of the team, he isn’t athletic enough to get his shots off and struggles to get back into the flow of the game after missing a full year of live basketball. At the end of the year, his struggles muddle what the team starts to do moving forward and what the best path actually is.

JR: Garland struggles to get his shot off and doesn’t mesh well with Collin Sexton on the court. I mentioned this before but there are so few point guards that control everything on the court the way a Steve Nash would back in the day. Most have to learn how to play off the ball and the best offenses in the league almost all have multiple creators. For Garland to be a ball watcher that dominates possession and chucks inefficiently would be by far the worst case scenario in my eyes. I’m not going to even bother bringing up defense because at his age there really aren’t any good defenders at his position. Only young players playing on good defensive teams having their stats inflated due to the flaws in the existing metrics.

DZ: He doesn’t work well off of Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson and he finds it hard to get shots in any type of flow. He doesn’t get much time with Kevin Love because of injury to either player, or a trade of Love. He doesn’t handle losing well and vets around the team grow frustrated. He struggles to find his shot coming off injury while adjusting to the speed of the NBA. Any of these scenarios would be problematic and frustrating for Garland and fans.