The Cavaliers selected Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
June 20, 2019

The Cavaliers selected Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

A Brentwood Academy product, Garland averaged 23.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game and led his team to a 30–2 record and state championship his junior season of high shool. In his final year, he averaged 27.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals en route to a fourth straight state title.

Garland commited to Vanderbilt in November 2017 and showed some promise as a freshman for the Commodores, averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Albeit in a small sample size, he shot 53.7% from the field (29-of-54) and 47.8% from three-point range (11-of-23) at Vanderbilt.

The 6'2", 175-pound guard was limited to only five games due to a knee injury. Garland underwent surgery on his left meniscus in November.

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo’s breakdown: Most around the league agree that Garland's draft stock actually benefited from missing nearly the entire season with injury, shifting the emphasis to his natural talent and limiting teams’ opportunities to dissect his game. He does have a good deal of talent as a shot-creator, and will be an option for point-guard needy teams once Ja Morant comes off the board. Garland is a consistent outside shooter and shifty ballhandler who can play and score on the move. He lacks an ideal physical profile, but there’s a definite degree of ability here. There is also risk involved, as Garland’s four-game sample came against so-so competition, and while teams had a feel for him based off what he’d done prior to college, it’s still a tricky evaluation. His average athletic tools and ongoing development as a playmaker who can legitimately run a team will be nitpicked. Still, with the league-wide premium on perimeter creators, Garland could well be one of the more valuable prospects available.

Jeremy Woo's grade: B+

There’s some uncertainty as to what Cleveland is doing with this pick at the moment, but Garland is the choice at No. 5, and if they intend to keep him, it’s clear they came at this pick from a best player available perspective. The Cavs drafted Collin Sexton in last year’s lottery and would be pairing him with a more playmaking-oriented guard in Garland—although both are undersized, they excel at putting pressure on defenses off the dribble. We’ll see whether he stays here or if the pick is traded, but you can’t knock Cleveland for aiming high here.

 

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