After playing just five games with Vanderbilt, Darius Garland is one of the hardest prospects to get a handle on. Most 2019 NBA Mock Drafts have him going in the top-six, with a majority placing him fourth overall to the Los Angeles Lakers. While his potential is high, I am not fully there with Garland. Along with the low college sample size, Garland likes to hoist up bad shots and is not a great finisher at the rim. However, his shooting ability and shiftiness are what makes teams want to take a chance on Garland. The 6’3” point guard fits in with the modern NBA being able to hit any shot, off of any move, outside the three-point line.
- Smooth stroke. Has the ability to knock down deep shots off the dribble and in spot up situations.
- Shifty. Garland slices through defenders and gets to his spots. He needs to develop a floater game in the NBA, especially if he never becomes a plus-finisher at the rim. But, Garland loves moving around defenders and getting to a pull-up jump shot.
- He loves the mid-range game when the three is not there. Because of his lackluster finishing ability, Garland loves to maneuver around defenders and get to a pull-up elbow shot instead.
- Great handle. This goes along with his shiftiness, but Garland’s ability to slice through the defense comes with great control of the ball. He is not afraid to throw the ball ahead to a spot where he knows he will get to. While some shifty players are limited getting to the rim because of their lack of ball control, Garland’s handle is top notch.
- Rebounds his position. Garland averaged 5.5 rebounds per 40 minutes last season at Vanderbilt. He does a good job of grabbing long rebounds and getting going in transition.
- Will be a good free throw shooter. While he only shot 75% in his five games at Vanderbilt, that was an extremely small sample size. Based off his high school numbers and his shooting form, NBA teams will be able to rely on him at the line.
- Finishing at the rim
- Shot selection
- When he makes quick reads, he delivers timely passes. Garland has the height to look over small point guards and make great passes. But, in his five games at Vanderbilt, he averaged just 3.9 assists per 40 minutes. While he has the frame to be a good passer, his slow reads hinder that ability.
- Strength. As a 6’3” point guard, adding strength will be a must for Garland. Unlike Fox, who is the same size, Garland is not as quick and explosive at the rim, so he could use more size to get in the lane and finish at the rim.
- Going off the size, there are times where a strong hedge from a big defender off a pick-and-roll will fluster Garland. He needs to recognize the hedge and back the ball up to make an easier read.
- He has a slight dip on his shot off the catch. While it is something he can overcome, elite NBA shooters are able to catch and release quicker than Garland did at Vanderbilt. Even improving the dip on the catch slightly will give him more time and space to get off a shot in the NBA.
- Careless with the ball at times. Valuing the basketball will allow Garland to cut down on his 4.3 turnovers per 40 minutes at Vanderbilt.
- Should be an average defender. He does not possess the strength to guard more than one, maybe two positions so he is not very switchable, but he is shifty enough to chase around point guards off of screens and pindown action.
- Injury. Garland suffered a meniscus injury which caused him to miss almost all of his freshman season. Injuries, especially at a young age, have become easier to recover from, but it is still a worthy notetaking point for Garland.
- 2010/11 Jameer Nelson
- Goran Dragic
- Mo Williams
- 175 Pounds
- 6’5” Wingspan
- Monte Morris/De’Aaron Fox Physical Build
VIDEOS YOU MUST SEE
1. Comfortable from deep
As I mentioned as part of Garland’s strengths, he’s a great shooter, especially when he gets to his spots. This clip shows his smooth stroke, and his ability to get balanced, even in a step-back situation. Plays like this are what makes Garland a high potential pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
2. Slick handle, bad finish, hits the three anyway
This clip summarizes Garland’s game perfectly. He has the quick handle to split the defense, but then cannot finish at the rim with his left hand. However, his teammate gets the rebound and Garland re-spots for an easy open three-pointer. If this does not summarize Garland’s strengths and concerns, show me what does.