This season has been full of surprises. Projected contenders L.A. Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are faltering, while the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers have been the surprise success stories so far. For Darius Garland, it comes as no surprise as he believes their squad is one of the best in the NBA.
On the Cavs’ unexpected rise
The Cavs were not supposed to be sitting 4th in East. Losing Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio to injuries should have affected their campaign, but the team is still fighting and proving everyone wrong. At the forefront of the surge is the 3rd-year guard Darius Garland who took over the leadership role and is shining in it. The NBA was suprised at how Cleveland is performing so far but not Darius.
When asked if they expected to be this good so soon by Draymond Green on his podcast, Garland was honest and unapologetically proud.
“I mean I think we're really tough to beat, so just having that mindset of just helping the next person and then just having that one-on-one mentality like you at the park in the old days and it's a one-on-one battle that you got to go against like I think that we're really up there and we know we surprised a lot of people.”
Darius Garland, ">The Draymond Green Show
Examining the Cavs roster, they have an oversupply of big men with Kevin Love, Evan Mobley, Jarett Allen, Lauri Markkanen, and Cedi Osman, but they make it work behind solid defense and brilliant plays of young guns Isaac Okoro and Garland. Suddenly, the rebuilding phase has been cut short.
The Cavs could make noise in the playoffs
The young team in Cleveland, with an average roster age of 26.1, is prepared to make some noise in the postseason. No one gave them a chance during the offseason and look at them now. For sure, no team in the East would want to face them in the first round. After all, Cleveland has got nothing to lose. They seem to enjoy playing for each other and playing hard every night.
The chance to finally come out of LeBron James’ shadow and create their legacies is what drives these young stars. The new vibe and energy rubbed off on other team veterans such as Love, who found a new gear playing as a bench player.
The Cavaliers have a new star in Darius Garland. Remember his name. He has the confidence and skills to make the city his own and vanquish the ghost of LeBron James' era in Cleveland.