The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to allocate significant minutes to their prized rookie, Darius Garland. During his first 13 games with the Cavaliers, he’s experiencing the struggles that were expected.

Garland arrived in the league with an elite ability to shoot from 3-point range. While his stint was brief with Vanderbilt University, he gave the Cavaliers front office reason to believe he’ll continue to develop his range. Coach John Beilein hasn’t shied away from letting Garland learn on the fly.

“Right now, a lot of this stuff is brand new to him,” Beilein told the media.

He’s absolutely right.

Despite being the new kid on the block, the Cavaliers want Garland to get as acclimated as possible. With the organization in a full rebuild, it’s wise to do so. They won’t compete for division titles or playoff appearances in the next few seasons, so why not let these young rookies like Garland play as much as possible? The Cavaliers have done just that.

Garland playing significant minutes as a starter

Before the season, coach Beilein didn’t commit to Garland as the starting point guard. After all, they had more viable veteran options, including Brandon Knight and Matthew Dellavedova. Another veteran, Jordan Clarkson, is one of the more dynamic scorers on their roster, but he thrives more under the “Sixth-Man” mantra.

Anyways, Garland has started in each of the Cavaliers first 13 contests. He’s played more than 23 minutes in each contest as well. There isn’t reason for any concern with Garland since it’s far too early to tell. His teammate Collin Sexton struggled early on last season. Now he’s averaging 17.4 points per game while finding more confidence with his offensive game.

In his Sports Illustrated Cleveland piece, columnist Sam Amico wrote the organization can live with Garland’s struggles, since they’re to be expected.

“Beilein admitted he would’ve preferred that Garland fire up the open 3-pointers instead. But poor shot selection, 0-for-10 meltdowns, learning when to be aggressive, learning how to lead — the Cavs can live with all of it,” Amico said.

Since the majority of Cleveland’s roster is filled with first, second or third-year players, it’s difficult to predict how Garland will develop around them. The key veterans, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, should help Garland continue to adapt to the fast-paced game in the pros.

Statistics don’t show Garland’s aggressiveness

Statistics can only, on the surface, show how well a player can score, rebound, pass and defend. On the surface, Garland is struggling at all facets of the game.

Through his first 13 games, Garland is averaging 9.1 points per game, further reflected by his morbid field goal numbers. He’s shooting 33.8 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from 3-point range. Despite low shooting numbers, they are improved from even a week ago. He only registered double digits once in his first seven games with 12 against the the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 26. He has since scored in double figures in five out of the last six games.

In addition to scoring, Garland has averaged 1.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. As statistics represent a rookie struggling to adapt to the NBA, it’s important to look at shot attempts and in-game play. During their game against Indiana on Nov. 1, Garland shot 0-of-10 from the field, registering his two points at the free-throw line. The important aspect to look at is shot attempts.

While Garland clearly struggled to find his range, he’s still recording double digit shot attempts per game. He’s shown his willingness to contribute on the offensive side, even if his scoring numbers leave a lot to be desired.

Garland moving forward

While the Cavaliers currently stand at 4-9, the team continues to steadily improve. Aside from late-game collapses against the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks, the Cavaliers have been highly competitive in every game.

The team chemistry will improve during the season as well, especially with Garland at the point guard position.

“Just keep growing as a basketball player, try to get more wins,” Garland said told the media. “I want to keep growing in my relationships with my teammates, try to get them involved more. The chemistry still isn’t fully there, so just keep trying to work on that, too.”

Garland will look to continue to improve with three games to end the week against the Miami Heat, Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers.

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