Top NBA Draft prospect Darius Garland is studying the game of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. In particular, he’s adopting Lillard’s side step pull-up, he told Sam Vecenie of The Athletic (subscription required):
Garland: “His side step is crazy. He gets so much space on it.”
Vecenie then goes on to explain the clear similarities between the two point guards:
Lillard’s style of play is what I’m most reminded of when I watch Garland, so I was unsurprised when he mentioned the Portland point guard as someone that he watches a ton of tape on. The way that Garland gets downhill going to the basket, but also keeps a live dribble when stationary and keeps his defender on a string is pretty remarkable. But as he mentioned above, the side-step pull-up is the skill he’s trying to get down. It’s a lethal part of Lillard’s repertoire, something that makes him nearly unguardable on shots off the bounce.
Garland, a freshman at Vanderbilt, is largely regarded as the best point guard prospect in the upcoming draft class. You can read more from Vecenie (subscription required) here.