1-8 has never felt so good! The losses excite as we watch prospects like Parker and Wiggins. The win gives us hope as we saw our young players grow before our eyes. Hayward had his first double-double with assist while dropping 27 on only 12 shots. Kanter did what we have not seen him do this season, rebound defensively. Favors showed his defensive prowess with five steals and two blocks.
However, one of the largest differences in the game was the point guard rotation. No one expected Diante to play tonight, let alone have the coming out party he had. In similar DeMarre Carroll fashion, Garrett provided high energy minutes from someone many expected to not get NBA minutes. Diante gave the Utah Jazz 7 points on 3-5 shooting, 5 assists, a steal, and was someone who ran played great on both sides of the ball. All that, and Diante has not studied any of the Jazz’ offensive system. That is remarkable, as he did not look lost one bit. So who is this mystery man that seemed to infuse the team with confidence and energy?
Diante Garrett is a 25 year old guard born in Milwaukee. Garrett is the son of Dick Garrett, who played five seasons in the NBA. During his senior year at Harold S. Vincent high school, Garrett led his team to be runners up in the state D1 tournament. In doing so, Diante was named All-State and selected as the Wisconsin Player of the Year.
Garrett went on to play for the Iowa State Cyclones for four years. Garrett became ISU’s all time leader in games played, 2nd all time in assists, 9th in steals, and 13th in 3 pointers made.
At 6’5″ with a 6’9″ wingspan Diante had the size to be an NBA point guard. He was known as a ‘true point guard’ as a distributor. He could read defenses well and had a good first step. However, he had glaring weaknesses. Garrett’s jumper was inconsistent and was not known for a consistent knack to score. nbadraft.net had Diante ranked as their 67th pick, and in the end he went undrafted.
This did not hold Garrett back as he then went to play professional basketball in Croatia and France. The Suns gave him his first shot at the NBA where Garrett appeared in 19 games. He also played in 8 games for the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA D-league. In Bakersfield Diante showed improvements in many facets of his game. He averages 17.3 points per game, 7.3 assits, 3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, while shooting 61.9% from 3. This preseason’s Garrett was on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s training camp team. After being waived by the Thunder, Diante entered Tulsa’s D-league team, where he resided before the Jazz signed him.
Garrett is no star, but he is an improvement over Tinsley. He is capable of running an offense, and has the size and athleticism needed to play defense. If Garrett can continue to show the recent improvement on his jump shot, he could be a great back up point guard. I believe that Garrett’s play today allowed him to leap frog JLIII in the rotation, as Corbin opted to allow Garrett to close out the game.
Diante Garrett is not a star, but I believe he can be our new DeMarre Carroll. Fans are going to love his refreshing energy, great decision making, and upgraded athleticism and size from Tinsley. That upgrade is welcomed by fans, and will be enjoyed throughout the year. Dennis Lindsey was part of a Spurs organization that was very good at finding ‘diamonds in the rough’. Once again, Dennis Lindsey and Kevin O’Connor have polished coal into a diamond, and we get to watch Diante shine.