The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a 19-win season, which put them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They haven't made the playoffs — or even reached 25 wins — since the 2017-18 season. Fortunately, the trajectory of the franchise looks to be heading in the right direction with the addition of third overall draft pick Evan Mobley and the expected growth from point guard Darius Garland.
Garland made an appearance on The HoopsHype Podcast with Michael Scotto and said the expectation for the team this year is to make the playoffs and to win as many games as possible.
“In our locker room, our expectation is to make the playoffs," Garland said. “It’s going to be tough but I think we have the mindset and the guys to do it. Everybody’s bought in right now so I think we are at a good point right now, but I believe we have another gear to get to to make it to the playoffs and I think you're going to see it this year.”
Garland, who is going into his third season with the Cavs, has his own goals in mind which include being a leader this year, making his first All-Star appearance and becoming an all-time great player.
“I’m just trying to get better every day. Continue to just to get better and hopefully make a push for the All-Star game for the first time this year in Cleveland.” Garland continues, “I want to be one of the best players to ever play this game. I want to be known around the league, I want to have my kids’ friends talking about, 'oh, I remember Darius Garland,' so that would be cool. A lot of All-Star appearances, that would be amazing, and even the Hall of Fame.”
Many people around the league think Garland will have a breakout year too, as 15 NBA executives recently voted Garland as their lead breakout candidate for the upcoming season in a report from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. Golden State Warriors PG Stephen Curry also had some high praise for Garland saying the young guard will be a flat-out star in a report from ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
“I talked to Steph Curry a couple weeks ago, and I was asking him about young players he might have reached out to and guess who he said?” MacMullan said, via Brad Sullivan of Cavaliers Nation. “Darius Garland, Darius Garland, he loves Darius Garland a lot, a lot, a lot. He thinks that kid is gonna be a flat-out star.”
With the addition of the play-in games, the Cavs very well could sneak into the playoffs this year if Garland lives up to the hype. Garland had a stellar season in Cleveland last year with a stat line of 17.4 points per game, 6.1 assists per game and a 45.1 percent clip from the field.