On guard: John Beilein not worried who gets PG label

Collin Sexton and Darius Garland to run Beilein’s 2-guard front

Daryl Ruiter
June 21, 2019 - 6:07 pm

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

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Independence, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – When the Cavaliers selected Darius Garland fifth overall a year after Collin Sexton was taken eighth the first question that came to mind was, who’s the point guard – AKA the facilitator?

From head coach John Beilein’s perspective, both.

At Michigan Beilein ran a two-guard front, which he intends to bring to Cleveland, hence the selection of Garland being a perfect fit instead of a conflict.

“It really doesn’t make a difference,” Beilein said. “It’s a whole idea of positionless basketball. We will have two forwards, two guards and a big center. That will all depend on who we are playing, who is playing well, who is injured and hopefully we can just morph into whatever shape we need to take for games as time goes on.”

Garland was all smiles Friday when he was introduced along with the 26th pick Dylan Windler in front of family, friends and the media.

The idea of teaming Garland and Sexton up was discussed with both players prior to the pick and the early returns on the reaction to the unique teambuilding are positive.

“I think I can help him, and I think we can both combine and do some crazy things in Cleveland,” Garland said.

So how does Windler fit into this thing?

Beilein sees him as his sharpshooter from deep that will be able to bury some of the open looks created by Sexton and Garland.

“The court is open and it really allows the guards to have so much more freedom,” Beilein said. “If you have two of them, that’s the traditional way it is. It was just sort of this open court that really allowed them to have a lot of freedom and at the same time they have to be great teammates that see each other, can score for their own, but also find the open shooters.

“The two of them are going to beautiful together and make me a much better coach than I am.”

Windler led Belmont to an OVC title and the program’s first NCAA tournament victory as a senior and he’s aiming for similar success in Cleveland after it was unclear even if he’d be a first round selection.

“I kinda just went into it with an open mind in knowing that a year ago from today if I thought I’d be even close to this situation I would be more than happy with that,” Windler said. “I went in with that mindset and just was going to be happy with whatever happened.”

From Beilein’s perspective, the game is changing, and he wants a roster capable of keeping up. Windler and Garland fit his vision perfectly.

“The more shooters you have on the court, that’s who’s winning right now,” Beilein said.

Garland, who only played in five games after suffering a torn left meniscus against Kent State on Nov. 23, blew the Cavs away during his pre-draft workout.

“That really meant a whole lot to me when the whole staff came out, I knew they were really interested,” Garland said. “I knew I had to come put on a show for them but there was no pressure at all. Shooting range, I was pretty deep out there I think.”

Beilein was quick to confirm Garland’s account.

“He was shooting from back in Nashville and we were in California,” Beilein said.

Absent for Friday’s introduction was Kevin Porter Jr., selected 30th after the pick was acquired from Detroit. The Pistons landed the selection in a previous trade with Milwaukee and that deal has yet to become official, which is why you saw Porter put on a Bucks cap for his handshake with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

The Piston-Bucks trade should be completed next week thus allowing the Detroit-Cleveland deal to get the stamp of approval from the league office. NBA rules prohibit the Cavs from even acknowledging Porter until then.