Darius Garland: Tools
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.
One of the most important factors for primary initiators is their speed with the ball in hand. Garland is good at putting the ball on the deck and beating players up and down the floor, particularly in transition. He understands how to set the tempo for his team and can even win foot races against defenders. He will have big questions regarding his frame, but being able to go end-to-end will help to give him some physical edge he can hold on to.
Another physical tool Garland has in his bag is his agility. He is capable of blowing by defenders and navigating in tight spaces to find seams. He forced opposing defenders to hard-hedge which is critical to opening up rolls for big men in ball-screen actions. He also has great range as a shooter which will force opponents to have to close out to him at 25+ feet. Once they overextend, many will be easy pickings for him to blow by.
In a limited sample size, Garland appeared to be a solid but not overly impressive leaper. He can jump off either foot and elevate to his apex, but he has more success jumping out rather than up (which is probably a product of his size and frame). He doesn’t get great lift on his jump shot opportunities and he isn’t particularly explosive to challenge larger players on rebounds. However, his leaping ability likely won’t be something which will deter his development.
You can tell Garland has been a smaller player on the court for most of his life. He is good at sliding past contact using his length and will occasionally be able to hang in the air just long enough to beat out a defender and get a shot up. He is very hit-or-miss when it comes to contact, sometimes he is blown away by it and other times he can absorb the blow and still get a quality attempt. One area where his body control particularly shines is when he is pressured as a ball handler. He has a fantastic handle and will use his shoulders and hips to put defenders in jail and effectively eliminate them from the play.
An area of major concern for Garland, his 170-pound frame doesn’t exactly scream NBA-ready. He has narrow shoulders and hips which may limit his ability to add strength on either his upper or lower body. However speedsters like De’Aaron Fox have proven that size isn’t everything. Nonetheless, he will have to sharpen other areas of his game to elite levels because his physical margin for error is so small.