The Cleveland Cavaliers have been treading water recently, going 8-8 in January which isn’t terrible considering Donovan Mitchell missed six games. This team has a bit of an issue on the road having just crossed the halfway mark of the season. There is one player specifically that has struggled on the road, one of their most important players: Darius Garland.
The Cavaliers will need to figure out what’s going on quickly considering the team is currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with the top-four seeds practically locked in and do not want to slip in the standings any further.
By The Numbers
Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports
The Cavs have by far the greatest home-away difference in the East. The current roster is 22-6 at home (second to the Milwaukee Bucks) and 10-16 on the road which is the worst of the contenders in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers net rating (4.8 overall, second in the league) is 8.4 at home while just 0.9 away. The team is clearly playing much worse on the road and somehow it is singlehandedly due to Garland’s performance.
Garland Is Homesick
Ron Schwane/AP Photo
Garland sees his numbers drop the most by a massive margin of the players who see the most minutes on the Cavaliers. Most of the Cavaliers see around a 3% drop in their true shooting percentages. Caris LeVert oddly enough goes up a significant amount, while Mitchell remains essentially the same.
Garland on the other hand, drops a full 13%, which is insane. The former Vanderbilt standout has a 64.8 TS% at home which would make him one of the most accurate guards in the NBA, comparable to sharpshooters like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard.
Meanwhile, Garland’s putrid 51.8 TS% on the road would be one of the worst marks in the league, around 385th out of the 458 qualifying players. This results in a tremendously drastic decrease in raw numbers as well. Garland is scoring six less points per game and is losing nearly an assist per game, despite only dropping 1.9% in usage rate when outside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
There is optimism that these numbers are due for a correction. Garland has not had this problem before, performing relatively equally regardless of home or away the past two seasons. We are only functioning on a sample size of twenty-two games but it is worth monitoring.
The Cavaliers could be a quick bounce out of the playoffs if this keeps up, and it will be mostly thanks to Garland’s inexplicably terrible play away from home. The Cavs are 9-0 without him, but most interestingly they are 4-0 without him away.
That’s much harder when their overall away record is 10-16 compared to 22-6. The Cavaliers, and more specifically Garland, have fifteen away games left to turn this trend around and prove this is just bad luck. Hopefully that’s the case.
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