Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
- Follow Amico’s Cavaliers and NBA coverage on SI.com - October 30, 2019
- Dribbles: Cavaliers’ lack of ball movement starts at point guard - November 18, 2019
- Cavaliers turn back the clock and not exactly in a good way - November 17, 2019
Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 120-89 victory over visiting San Lorenzo de Almagro in the sort-of preseason opener.
1. It was just a scrimmage against a non-NBA team, but hey, Darius Garland would at least be really good in Argentina. And from the looks of things, he may not be too bad in America, either.
2. Garland is 6-foot-2 and was the No. 5 overall draft pick. He has been sidelined for most of the year, first as a freshman at Vanderbilt, then with the Cavs early in camp. He also missed all of summer league. So this was the fans’ first chance to see him play. What they saw was a 19-year old with a nice handle, soft shooting touch and pretty good feel for the game.
3. Garland made his presence felt right away after checking in to start the second quarter. He finished with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting. He passed for a couple of assists. He played with total composure for each of his 14 minutes.
4. Garland on the evening: “I was ready when my number was called. It didn’t matter when I got in. We talked about playing for real (to start the second quarter). We punched them in the mouth and got the lead.”
5. New Cavs coach John Beilein on Garland: “He’s been a point guard his whole life, running the show. He looked really comfortable.”
6. That in a word explained Garland — comfortable. Yet he wasn’t even the best rookie on the floor.
7. Garland was the Cavs’ first of three first-round selections. The second, Dylan Windler, is still out with a lower leg injury. The third, Kevin Porter Jr., at times looked like the best player out there.
8. It’s true, as good as Garland was, Porter Jr. was even better. How effective was the 6-6 shooting guard? How about 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting? Not bad for the 30th overall pick, or final selection of the first round.
9. Porter was projected as a lottery pick by most draft experts as a freshman early last season. His stock started to drop after a brief suspension. He showed lots of upside and athleticism, but scouts seemed to worry about his effort. There was no questioning that on this night.
10. Beilen on Porter: “He has tremendous upside. He’s explosive. Right now, he’s figuring out when to keep the ball and when to move it.”
11. Overall, the Cavs’ offense looked a lot like the University of Michigan’s during Beilein’s decade there. It consisted of general unselfishness, some nifty backdoor cuts and lots of perimeter shots. Not surprisingly, the product was a bit rusty. But the potential for an offense that consistently flows is there. “I can’t wait until the film session,” Beilein said. “It will be like an hour long. We’re going to learn a lot.”
12. Veteran guard Jordan Clarkson led the Cavs with 17 points. Power forward Larry Nance Jr. went for 15 on 5-of-8 shooting. Center Tristan Thompson scored 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
13. The Cavs return to the newly minted Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Tuesday for the annual Wine & Gold scrimmage. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.