NBA Notes: Cavs, Darius Garland, Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Raptors


Point guard Darius Garland said guard/forward Caris LeVert has been looking good now that LeVert is healthy.

“Caris is on a tear right now. He’s scoring the ball really well, he’s playing both sides of the ball, he’s defending really hard,” Garland said, via Chris Fedor of “We just have that attack mentality right now. He’s looking really good.”

LeVert is among the many candidates who could start for the Cavs at small forward, with Isaac Okoro being another. There could be as many as six players vying for the spot.

Overall, Garland said the promising Cavs have high hopes entering the season.

“It’s great vibes. A lot of energy,” he said, via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “It’s still a lot of guys that’s starting to get to know everything, get to know everybody. But immaculate vibes around the gym. Everybody’s coming in [with] high energy, ready to work.”

  • Becoming a Sixth Man of the Year candidate last season is not something Kevin Love took lightly, as he indicated he enjoyed the reserve role. “(Heat guard) Tyler Herro, he was an All-Star off the bench, so I wasn’t mad at being a runner up to him,” Love said, via Fedor. “Definitely would mean a lot, especially being with this group. Understanding that I was able to take on a different role and still be effective.”
  • New Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell is extra determined defensively this season. “It’s not the ability, I can play defense, I know that for a fact,” he said, via Serena Winters of Bally Sports. “I haven’t shown that and that’s what I’m looking forward to do here. Top 5 defense, I’m not here to bring that down.”


As far as Zion Williamson goes, there appears to be no concern after he missed all of last season with a foot injury.

“He looks like Z,” Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. said, via Brian Wacker of the New York Post. “Dude hasn’t played basketball for 500-something days. It’s not like none of us are expecting that right away but shoot, I got to be honest with you, dude looks good. It’s going to take time for everybody to adjust to him. It’s going to take him time to adjust to everybody, but it’s hard not to be impressed.”

The former No. 1 overall pick has averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 85 games over two seasons, and Pelicans coach Willie Green is seeing more of the same in training camp.

“(Williamson) looked amazing. His strength, his speed,” Green said, via Wacker. “He dominated the scrimmage pretty much.”


Combo guard Fred VanVleet made changes to his diet in an effort to stay healthier for the 2022-23 season, as relayed by Josh Lewenberg of TSN.

“It’s a 12-month season now, year ‘round,” VanVleet said, via Lewenberg. “Hopefully I can stay on this regimen the rest of my career. There’s always gonna be new changes and things you have to adjust and adapt to as you try to grow. I’ve had a hell of a run so far, so to continue to try to keep growing is going to be challenging every year but I’m up for it.”

  • Coach Nick Nurse indicated forward Precious Achiuwa figures to perhaps play a more prominent role this season. “I think that he’s improving all the time,” Nurse said, via Michael Grange of Sportsnet. “I think he had a great especially last half. I’ve already talked about I think he had a great spring, summer, fall so far, and he’s looked really good during the first three practices. So you know, I think a good step forward for him is expected by him, first and foremost, which is the most important, and by all of us, yeah.”

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