Height/Weight: 6’3, 175 lbs.
A crafty scorer that carries the ball on a string; Darius Garland has the best ball handling package in the 2019 draft class. His dribbling does not only help him create his own shot, but it also enables him to find discrete passing lanes due to his elite pull up off the dribble. Garland has elite quickness, mixed with his Kemba-esque package that helps him to continue to keep defenders off balance.
The Nashville native is an elite three point shooter, particularly his pull-up off screens which are deadly. If you go under he will make you pay from deep and he has an array of ball handling moves to get him to his spots with ease. He’s got a smooth release that when mixed with his dribbling ability, makes him extremely hard to defend. That attributes to the space he is able to create. It’s especially discouraging for defenders when Garland is in a rhythm being that he is just one of the hardest guards to stay in front of in this upcoming class.
While Garland lacks elite size and strength, he is a very scrappy defender. Given his ability to score and distribute the ball, Garland has the potential to become the best guard to ever come from Vanderbilt to make it to the next level.
Darius isn’t the most explosive athlete, so he struggles with above the rim guards on defense. With this lack of size, with a body similar to Steph Curry, his ceiling on defense is only as an above-average defender because of his pesky behavior and solid hands. Depending on the team he is selected to he may have to be hidden on defense sometimes. The Eric Bledsoe, Chris Paul, John Wall type players will bully around Garland with their strength if he does not bulk up.
He has the ability to pass the ball without a doubt, but sometimes he won’t rely on his teammates enough which will be a problem at the next level when he has such talented teammates surrounding him. A lot of factors could be inserted in when conversing about his lack of distribution. Before his season-ending injury, Garland totaled 13 assists to 15 turnovers. There were flashes of his good keen eye to distribute the ball was on display, but that AST:TOV ratio is startlingly bad.
Garland is an impressive scorer, but he struggles to make the correct decisions under the rim and converting at the rim. When Garland gets down-hill, he must improve on making the right decisions and then converting his runner that was a true go-to for him on the AAU circuit.
The season ending injury, where he tore his meniscus, is also concerning. Players don’t always get back to 100% after a knee injury, which is just something we’ll have to monitor going forward as he begins his NBA career.
Darius Garland is a future lottery pick with his point guard intangibles and deadly shot. He’ll most likely come out after this season, given the injury, and will be one of the top, if not the 2nd, point guard taken off the board. He will become a better player as his play-making develops even more at the next level. His shooting is elite, but if his defense can catch up even half as much, he can become an elite player.
We still haven’t even seen the best of Darius Garland yet and that’s what has us so excited about his future and the possibility of him being drafted extremely high in the 2019 NBA Draft.