Team-first player, an on-court extension of the coach, leader. These are the traits that coaches and scouts look for in a starting point guard. The 19-year old prospect, Darius Garland, possesses all of these characteristics. Which is why he reportedly left the NBA Draft Combine early due to a promise from a team picking in the four to six range.
Darius Garland NBA Draft Player Profile
The 6’3, 175-pound point guard out of Brentwood, Tennessee may be the most intriguing player in this draft. Garland sat out a vast majority of Vanderbilt’s 2018-2019 due to a meniscus injury he suffered after only playing in five games. Since he doesn’t have a large sample size of games played, Garland is a mystery to most fans. His per game averages in his five games for Vanderbilt were 16.1 points and 2.8 assists while shooting 48% from the three-point line.
The son of former NBA player, Winston Garland, is a great ball handler, with his most dangerous asset being his shooting ability. He is an electrifying, score-first guard that can score from all areas of the court. In addition to his impressive set of playmaking skills. He’s a slippery, quick-twitch player with a remarkable feel for the game. This allows him to play with a nice tempo, which opens up the floor for the hang dribbles and hesitations he uses to create space. Garland is a well-versed pick and roll playmaker. He handles hedges well and takes advantage of drop coverages. He sees the floor exceptionally and makes passes on a dime, making him an accurate passer with both hands.
Areas of Improvement
As is the case with all guards in Garland’s mold, teams will question his defensive upside and versatility on that end of the floor, especially in the switch-heavy modern NBA. Starting out, he may struggle to match up with elite guards due to his light frame. For his style of play, he doesn’t draw many fouls and plays below-the-rim. Despite his offensive skill set, he may have a challenging time against longer rim-protectors at the next level. Another area of improvement is his decision-making, where at times he opts to be flashy rather than go for the fundamental play.
As small, skill-based guards such as Trae Young continue to find success, Garland’s skillset is promising for NBA teams. His quick change of pace with the ball in his hands and smooth jump shot draw comparisons to two guards. He has a floor of becoming a Jeff Teague type guard, with the ceiling of becoming a superstar in the league, similar to Damian Lillard.
It has been reported that Darius Garland received a promise from a team at the NBA Combine in the four to six range. This has given some people reason to believe that the team was the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the fourth pick. Garland signed with Klutch Sports in February, the same agency that represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Another fuel to the fire was when Garland was spotted with James at an AAU tournament this past Saturday.
In this era of the NBA that is predicated on three-point shooting, basketball IQ, and multiple ballhandlers, Garland is the perfect offensive point guard.
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