Suns recall Diante Garrett from Bakersfield Jam


With eight games to go until the All-Star break, the Phoenix Suns have added some depth at the point guard position. Well, sort of.

The team recalled point guard Diante Garrett from Bakersfield Monday, following his successful seven-game assignment with the Jam (D-League affiliate). Garrett, who signed with the Suns as an undrafted free agent back in October, averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 assists and 1.7 steals during his time in Bakersfield. The former Iowa State standout had no problem scoring either,  as he recorded four games of 15 or more points and one game of 20 points.  His addition seemed to also do wonders for the Jam, who went 6-1 during his brief stint.

Garrett made five starts in Bakersfield, but he’ll be hard-pressed to find much playing time in interim head coach Lindsey Hunter’s rotation moving forward this season. His return to the team comes just a day after rookie Kendall Marshall (six points and one rebound) played a season-high 15 minutes in relief of starting point guard Goran Dragic. Also, while Sebastian Telfair didn’t touch the floor in Sunday’s 110-95 defeat in Dallas, the veteran point guard had averaged over 15 minutes per game since Hunter took over for Alvin Gentry.

Before his assignment with the Jam, Garrett made six appearances with the Suns and averaged 0.8 points and 1.2 assists per game.

Tags: Bakersfield Jam Diante Garrett Phoenix Suns

  • Scott

    If the Suns draft Isaiah Austin, I hope they send him immediately to the Kareem school of skyhooking. With the skinny height, length, skyhook, and goggles, the Suns could terrorize the Lakers … ;)

    Speaking of the Lakers, good for Earl Clark! I did wish things would have worked out better for him when he was with the Suns, but wasn’t fond of him because he seemed like an especially low IQ guy.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    I wanted to see Earl Clark get a chance with the Suns. I voiced that heavily on VoTS long before he finally got traded. Lets be real though.

    When he was here, Nash was still here, and he wasn’t moving the ball. He was throwing up absolutely AWFUL jumpshots. He wasn’t hitting open jumpers within the flow of the offense. He wasn’t in the proper spots offensively and his defensive intensity and rebounding wasn’t anything like it is now.

    That comes with a few more years of work and maturity. Can’t really blame the Suns for giving up on him. He wasn’t anything close to what he is now and, as he is now, he would not have fit within the Nash driven system of yesteryear.

  • DBreezy

    Foreveris/Scott/Rich Anthony,

    I too wanted to see Earl get a bigger chance with the Suns. I agree with Scott that he had a low IQ, but to me the biggest problem was how the Suns handled him. I said at the time that every young player is different and as an organization you have to adjust your tactics. Guys like R.Lo and Dragic could handle spending large amounts of time on the bench their rookie year, while they learn the ropes on their own in practice and with observation. What they had do to get from point A to point B in their development was clear to them from that experience.

    From pretty early on you could see EC55 wasn’t that kind of guy. As Scott said, he had a low IQ, and I don’t just mean in the basketball sense. I remember when Amar’e and Dudley took him under their wings after his rookie season to workout with them in MIA. I believe both of them said that they were doing it because EC needed to pick up his habits to be the player he could be. I also remember that following SL where he struggled mightily. You could see that he was still pretty weak even though he claimed to have worked out a lot, often times he looked weaker than Gani Lawal. When he was questioned about his strength not improving he said something that cracked me up: it was something to the effect of ‘everybody who sees me, says my body looks good’ At that point I openly wondered if the switch upstairs would turn on in time for him to stay in the league or would he join the Joe Alexander’s and Chris Taft’s of the world.

    Obviously the switch has turned on for EC55, and as a Suns fan I can’t help but be jealous. I’m also glad to see a player of his type seize the opportunity that playing for a guy like D’Antoni offered unlike the ultimate tease Anthony Randolph who couldn’t do the same for Don Nelson, D’Antoni, and Adelman. From the Suns perspective, I think there are just some players who won’t ‘get it’ unless you put them on the floor consistently when they’re young-admittedly often when they don’t necessarily deserve it by their play/practice habits. You don’t have to give them 30mpg off the bat, but you have to give them something or you risk them not developing on their rookie deals and getting to watch things pay off for someone else. Simply leaving all rookies on the bench to watch and then hoping that things click in the following summer league and training camp doesn’t work for a lot of players. I get the same vibe about Kendall Marshall, which is why I hope they play him down the stretch. I think Kendall largely feels he hasn’t played because of his first coach and because of a numbers game, not because of his game. That needs to change if he has any chance of getting over the hump and that isn’t going to happen in summer league.

  • IowaPhXfan

    I think the absolute best you could hope for in Marshall is a worse scoring version of Mike Conley. And that’s not saying much because Conley isn’t exactly scorching the nets (42% fg 37% 3p). Marshall shot 35% on threes in college…chances of him shooting 35% in the NBA are very slim. My theory is you need a pg who can shoot the three efficiently (min 37-38%).
    Worse scoring offenses in the NBA: Washington, Indiana, Chicago, Memphis, Philly, New Orleans, Minn, Detroit, Charlotte, Orlando, Boston

    Common theme….pg shoots about 35% on threes or less. The only way to cover up a below average shooting pg is to have at least 2-3 good shooters on the floor with him. It’s all about spacing. It’s why guys like Frye are so valuable, he creates tons of space because it drags a 4 or 5 out of the paint and creates driving/cutting lanes.

    Houston is a really fun team to watch this year. They have a great system on offense and found great players for it. They have 3 guys shooting 39% or better in Morris (ugh), Delfino, & Douglas. Then they have excellent slashers in Harden & Lin. Perfect design for a great offense. Add in a rebounding machine like Asik and there you have it.

    One stat I like to judge the best teams is which teams have the most guys shooting >38% on 3p’s and taking at least two 3pa/gm. Only five teams have 3 or more guys on that list this year: Mia, Okc, GSW, NYK, & Hou.

    If every possession a 38% or better three point shooter shot a three (decently open), that team would produce 1.14 points per possession….the #1 ppp this year is OKC at 1.12.

    This simple evaluation should show just how important it is to have at least 2 or 3 great shooters. No, it doesn’t account for defense, but put Frye on this year’s team and I guarantee we would have 3-4 more wins right now (thank god he’s hurt! ha).

    Just how good were the Suns when we were putting up 110 ppg? In 09-10 we had FIVE (Nash, Frye, Richardson, Dudley, Dragic) guys shooting at least 38% from three and shooting at least 2 3pa/gm.
    Can’t find a team in recent years with more than three guys at this clip, until this year. Miami has five guys this year in same category. In 08-09 Orl had three guys, in 09-10 Bos had Pierce and Allen hittin threes like crazy in playoffs.

    Phx now has only Dudley in this category, and Bassy is close. That’s it. Dragic is shooting horrible this season, we’ll see if that changes with better talent around him or if he was meant to be 6th man who brings excellent scoring off the bench….I’m afraid it’s the latter. Which is ok. Draft a guy like Trey Burke to be starting pg, a guy who can dribble penetrate and shoot outside. Get Frye back as another great shooter. Sign Mayo to 3-4 yr deal. Draft Shabaz/Mclemore/Noel. Let Dragic, Garrett, & Morris come off the bench. Starting lineup of Burke, Mayo, Dudley, Scola, Noel….or Dragic, Mayo, Shabaz/Mclemore, Scola, Isiah Austin/Jeff Whitey.

    Recipe for success: PG who can penetrate and shoot min 35% from three, 2-3 good shooters, 2-3 big men who can rebound/play defense.

    -IowaPhXfan

  • Scott

    The Suns not only need players who have high accuracy on their shot, they need players who have a hunger to score. It seems to me the closest thing they have to that this year is Scola, and Gortat if you create for him. Brown would be in that category, but his offense is too inconsistent.

    BTW, I was going through all the new draft videos on Draft Express, and looking at Cody Zeller, doesn’t it make more sense if whoever takes him plays him at PF? He has good ball handling, so he can drive, and his height and weight would be good for the PF spot.

  • IowaPhXfan

    @Scott

    Yes Zeller would be a PF in the NBA. I guess if you put him and Frye together maybe you could have something with such contrasting styles of play. Maybe. I’d prefer Noel with 1st pick or Whitey with Lakers pick if that’s the route we go.

    Interesting stat comparison for Nerlens Noel….anybody remember Kelvin Cato? He played for Iowa State, was with Hou and Port in the NBA. Here is a comparison of Cato his senior year at Iowa State vs Noel this year (avg’d at 32 mins/gm for each)….

    Cato: 12 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 55% fg, 54% ft
    Noel: 10 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 58% fg, 54% ft

    I would bet a lot of money that Noel has a very similar pro career as Cato, their games are eerily similar. If you can’t shoot, and Noel can’t shoot, you will be used sparingly in the NBA as strictly a rebounder and shot blocker. Guys like Anthony Davis, Chandler, Ibaka all have a 15-18 ft jump shot.

    Shabaz/Mclemore/Bennett are the 3 guys that have star potential. Hopefully we land one of them.

    -IowaPhXfan

  • Scott

    @Iowa -

    I’m not so highly in favor of Noel, McLemore, and Bennett. I’m still collecting data (we don’t have Schmitz videos on everyone yet), but Shabazz looks to me like the undoubted #1 pick so far.

    I expect the team draft order to change, and players to get ranked differently as scrutiny intensifies, so take this with a large grain of salt.

    I’m going to assume the Cats win the #1 pick, mainly because the other candidates don’t need a new SG.

    Cats – Shabazz (will he make the Cats legit? MJ comparisons in 3, 2, 1 …)

    Wiz – Alex Len (the Wiz like tall Euros)

    Cavs – Cody Zeller (the Zellers, collect them all …)

    Pelicans – Nerlens Noel (Nawlins needs Nerlens)

    Magic – McLemore (among their youth, they need guard scoring)

    Suns – Isaiah Austin (without Gentry and Nash, do the Suns still want bigs with a perimeter shot? definitely send him to study with Kareem)

    Thunder -Marcus Smart (hard to figure out what the Thunder want at this point; maybe they’ll trade their pick?)

    Kings – Carter-Williams (they need another guard like they need a hole in the head, but there you go)

    Pistons – Anthony Bennett (scoring from SF)

    Sixers – Alex Poythress (drafting him for potential)

    Suns (from lottery Lakers) – Archie Goodwin (physically, he’s what you want at SG, but he’s very young and raw)

  • Scott

    IMO, there’s a lot of players in this draft that won’t pan out. Many lack lateral quickness. Many lack defensive intensity. Many have an inconsistent motor.

    Some of the better scorers, like CJ McCollum and BJ Young look destined for 6th man roles.

    My gems hidden in the weeds players, at the moment, are C Gorgui Dieng, who is currently ranked #27, SF Andre Roberson (#36), and PF Trevor Mbakwe (#50).

    While there will be some valuable players in this draft, there will probably also be some decent players falling off of teams in the NBA who could be snagged on small contracts.

  • Scott

    If the Suns don’t get a lottery pick from the Lakers, they should definitely inquire with the Thunder about buying or trading for their pick.

    Though I would hate it if the Suns took Goodwin with the pick from the Thunder and ended up giving the Thunder Dieng – from the Heat’s pick – plus cash. That would hurt, because I suspect Dieng is worth a lottery pick.

  • IowaPhXfan

    @Scott

    I would vomit for a week straight if that’s who Phx ends up with. I would take Trey Burke & Jeff Withey over both of those guys. You want guys who are EXCELLENT at at least 1 skill. Austin, Goodwin, Carter-Williams….these guys have bust written all over them. I want somebody who can score, if you can’t score, then you better do something else REALLY good. Such as block shots, rebound, play defense.

    Mclemore – will be an excellent spot up shooter and if develops the mindset can be a lockdown defender due to his crazy athleticism. Really think his ceiling is Ray Allen, that’s how good of shooter he is and how explosive a leaper he is (Allen could get up in younger days). Can’t really create own shot yet, #1 thing needs to work on is ball handling.

    Noel – will be Kelvin Cato. go look up his stats in his NBA career if curious. zero offense. rebounds and blocks shots. that’s it. at least you know what ur getting. BTW there is zero chance New Orleans would draft him with Anthony Davis there. Plus New Orleans is playing great basketball since Gordon returned, they’ll be 8th or 9th pick by end of season.

    Bennett – Reminds me a ton of Elton Brand. Only Bennett likes to shoot outside a lot more (38% from three). He won’t shoot a ton of threes in the NBA, since he’d most likely be a 35% at best three pt shooter. But I think he’d be a very good PF who can handle the ball, hit the 18 ft jumper, and score inside. Cross between Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger.

  • IowaPhXfan

    @Scott

    I agree on your hidden gems, I love Roberson and Mbawke as those guys that just make your team better…rebound, play defense, hustle. I also like Murphy Holloway from Mississippi as a sleeper. Rebounding, block shots, and assists are the top 3 stats that translate the best to the NBA from college.

    I agree there seem to be a lot of 6th man type players in this draft. I hope our FO can see past just high scoring numbers…(ala Jimmer, Adam Morrison, etc.)

  • DBreezy

    @Scott,

    I’m not sold on McLemore being anything more than Trevor Ariza with a jump shot. I agree that Shabazz is #1 right now.

    @IowaPhxfan,

    It’s kind of hard to compare Cato as a senior to Noel as a frosh. The biggest differences I see between the two is that Noel has a higher motor, which is huge in big men and Noel has incredibly quick hands and feet. That guy is a surprising menace defensively with steals and seems able to stay with perimeter guys which should make him a nightmare in S/R defensively. Obviously he’s also a blur in the open court for a big which is very nice.