He did enough to prove his skills through high school and four full college games before he tore his meniscus in November. Garland's perimeter scoring and shiftiness popped, leading to a spot in this year's lottery despite such a limited sample size of flashes and production.
Weight: 175 pounds
Pro comparison: Damian Lillard
Garland's appeal stems from his skill level, particularly as a shot creator and shooter. Before going down, he was 11-of-23 from three (6-of-9 on catch-and-shoot) and 13-of-23 on pull-ups. Garland shows the ability to separate into step-backs and knock down dribble jumpers from deep, and with notable fluidity, rhythm and range, he's a threat to spot up off the ball as well. A nifty ball-handler, Garland can change directions on the dime, fueling playmaking potential as a guard who can break down defenses.
Garland finished with 15 turnovers to 13 assists, raising questions about his floor game and decision-making for a lead guard. He may never be a top set-up man. He's shoot-first and prefers to settle for tough jumpers, a likely result of his lack of explosiveness around the basket. Garland struggles to execute passes, floaters and layups in traffic.
Garland won't add any value on defense, where he has trouble with physicality and opposing guards play through him too easily. He may spend time at the off-guard slot, but he lacks the size and wingspan to match up with wings. Garland doesn't have to be a liability if he can toughen up, but there isn't any defensive upside to be exciting about.
While most one-and-done freshmen need to become reliable shooters, Garland's jumper is NBA-ready. He'll immediately provide shot-making firepower and extra floor space. His two-point percentage will suffer early, based on his shot selection and physical limitations. And he won't register a strong assist-to-turnover ratio right away. In 2019-20, he'll be valued most for his streaky scoring and shooting, plus some playmaking ability as a pick-and-roll ball-handler.
Projected role: Quality starter
From AAU, Eurocamp and the Nike Hoop Summit to Vanderbilt, Garland has been a standout. And with enough size and quickness and a tremendous skill level, he figures to be a starting NBA point guard. The question when projecting his ceiling centers around his facilitating and how it can affect his value. Can he mirror Damian Lillard's success to become an All-Star point guard without ever averaging 7.0 assists? Lillard is Garland's comparison in terms of style, but it's more likely he settles into the league as a poor man's version, which should still be good enough to warrant a quality-starter label.