Darius Garland: Intelligence
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Garland is a high IQ player who gets himself to the right spots on the offensive end, but will need to focus more on defense to find this same level of awareness. He is excellent at reading defenses and will immediately go into something to pick apart defense at its weakest point. He absolutely destroyed USC when they went zone by feeding the high post and then moving without the basketball to get good shots. He also reads the floor well in the half court (particularly in pick-and-roll situations) and in transition, not forcing shots or passes.
Garland has a good sense of the moment and rose to the occasion getting his team baskets down the stretch in the USC game. He did a good job of controlling the game as it was tight, not getting rushed or frustrated in tense situations. He wants the ball at the end of shot clocks, and knows when to use his shooting ability and when to use his attacking ability. He does a good job of reading his match up in real time, sensing when they are off balance and using that against them.
Even though he operated as a primary initiator, Garland showed more of a scoring role from the point guard position, looking for his own opportunities fairly often. He has excellent shot selection, with a significant majority of his attempts either at the rim or from 3-point range. Despite being a score-first point, he has a knack for creating buckets for rollers out of pick-and-roll situations and generally makes good decisions about where his team has the advantage, even while on the move. He knows the right play to make but can overestimate his own abilities at times, leading to turnovers when attempting highlight reel plays or on predetermined reads. Young point guards are notorious for making mistakes and most learn to take care of the ball better with more experience.
Garland’s decisiveness is a melange of both good and bad. When he is operating with a live dribble he can be quick to find and exploit holes in the defense, but when he slows down and assesses the game from a triple threat position his decision making is much worse. He can be a second late when watching action unfold and will often force passes into lanes which close up. The team which takes Garland in the draft will likely try to keep him on the move as much as possible while he picks up the inner workings of the half court offense.
Anticipation (A to C)
Garland needs to improve on his anticipation to become an impact player on defense, often getting lost on switches and veer-backs. His speed does allow him to effectively close out to shooters from distance and get tips in passing lanes. Offensively, he is able to find open cutters and rollers well, a nice balance which tends to give him more room to score as defenders try to take away his passes first.