Darius Garland’s teammates don’t think he’s being aggressive enough vs. Magic

Jonathan Sherman
4 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

After jumping ahead to a 2-0 lead in their 2024 NBA Playoffs series against the Orlando Magic, the Cleveland Cavaliers have dropped two consecutive games. The series is now tied at 2-2.

Amidst those recent struggles, star point guard Darius Garland has revealed that his teammates believe he needs to be more aggressive for the Cavs. Garland discussed the vote of confidence he received from his teammates while speaking with Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“They want me to (shoot more), so that’s why they be patting me on my chest and trying to hype me up to shoot more shots,” Garland said. “That’s the thing — they think I’m not as aggressive right now.”

Interestingly, Vardon revealed that he and Garland spoke prior to Game 3 of the series. The Cavs would go on to lose Game 3 and Game 4.

Vardon went on to point out that through the first four games of the series, big man Evan Mobley has more field-goal attempts than Garland so far. Mobley has logged 47 attempts from the field while Garland has shot 43.

Vardon expressed his belief that that trend “can’t be a thing” for the Cavs offense. Though Mobley is a talented offensive player, Garland is a natural scorer from the point guard position.

Despite that fact, Garland added that he has seen proof that he turns down shots when he should be letting it rip.

“They show me almost every day on film that I’m turning down shots,” Garland said. “Yeah, I just, I gotta shoot them.”

Garland went on to explain that he rightfully defers to Donovan Mitchell when he and his starting backcourt mate are on the court together.

“I try to get everybody involved,” Garland said. “(In Game 1), Donovan, having it going really early, getting us off to a good start — he’s really been holding it down. When he gets tired, I try to turn up my aggressiveness a little bit. When he’s not in the game, we need scoring. So, I look to be aggressive when he’s not on the floor.”

Fans may argue that Garland should probably look for his shot more even when he and Mitchell are on the court. It can appear hard for players to simply turn scoring off and on during games, and many seem to need to get into a scoring rhythm to enjoy efficient offensive play. Garland is not immune to that concept.

Garland has not been all that impactful in his team’s first-round series from a stats perspective. He’s averaging just 12.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He’s likely going to need to get those numbers up if he wants to help his squad defend home court in Game 5.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.