While Garland enters the NBA known most for his ability to create shots, his former coach Bryce Drew told Joe Vardon of The Athletic that Garland would have been the best passer amongst some incredibly impressive names.
1. This is almost too much to believe. But we’re going with it. On the phone last night, Bryce Drew told me if Garland had played in the NBA when Drew did (parts of six seasons, from 1998-2004), “he would have been one of the best passers I saw in my six years in the league.”
2. Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Gary Payton and Michael Jordan all played in those days.
All five players are known as some of the best passers in NBA history. Even if the comparisons are a bit hyperbolic, it still indicates the supreme confidence that Drew has in his former star.
Garland averaged just 2.6 assists per game at Vanderbilt before a meniscus tear forced him to miss the rest of his sole collegiate season, but it seems as though that small sample size is quite deceiving.
If Garland’s passing is as good as his former coach believes, it could be a real gift for the Cavs. The Cavs plan to pair to Garland with second-year star Collin Sexton in their backcourt.
While Sexton showed a lot of improvement as a passer in his first season in the league, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
If Garland could start his career as a facilitator as well as a shooter, it could help the Cavs determine which of the talented youngsters is going to be the more ball-dominant guard.