4 Cavaliers on Thin Ice Heading Into the Playoffs

Plenty of members of the Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot to prove in this year's playoffs.
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2. Darius Garland

This is a similar situation to Evan Mobley. Darius Garland burst onto the scene in his third season in the NBA, making his first All-Star game in the 2021-22 season as he established himself as one of the best offensive guards in the league. A pick-and-roll master with an ability to pull up from anywhere on the court, and get to the rim and finish over anybody, Garland was going to be an offensive difference-maker for years to come.

The last two seasons didn't go according to plan. In the 2023 playoffs, Garland was extremely disappointing against the New York Knicks, struggling immensely on the defensive end while not being able to generate efficient shots offensively.

This season only exacerbated the concerns about Garland. Finishing the season with 18 points and 6.5 assists per game on below-league-average efficiency from the field, Garland had one of the most disappointing seasons of any All-Star level player in the league. This raised concerns about his fit with Donovan Mitchell going forward.

The Garland and Mitchell backcourt already creates defensive liabilities. If Garland is also inefficient on the offensive end, justifying that duo becomes very difficult.

Garland might be the Cavs player with the most to prove in the playoffs. He not only has to be better than he was against the Knicks last season, but he also has to demonstrate that this core can work together. Otherwise, he may be the odd man out this offseason.