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Phoenix Suns 2012-13 Player Review: Diante Garrett

Diante Garrett is the epitome of a player teeter-tottering between playing at the NBA level and working in an insurance office. His perseverance helped him make the Suns' roster this past season, but he played more minutes in the D-League for the Bakersfield Jam than he did for Phoenix. What should the grading criteria be for a young fringe player?


Judging Garrett based on his playing time for the Suns


Diante didn't exactly cement himself as a NBA player in his rookie season. In fact, he did much the opposite. The most glaring deficiency is his overall shooting ability. Garrett ranked 434th in eFG% out of 469 players that stepped on a NBA court last season. When factoring in that 19 of the 36 players below Garrett played less than 60 minutes the entire season it becomes readily apparent that he was one of the most atrocious shooters in the league.

The next area of infamy is the turnovers per 36 minutes. Garrett averaged 3.9, which slotted him as 16th worst in the league. Of the 15 somehow worse than him only three played more minutes.

Not all of this section consists of me making denigrating remarks about Garrett's game, though. Diante did average 7.5 assists per 36, which was good enough for 19th in the league. Only one player ahead of him played less minutes on the season, so this makes Garrett somewhat of an outlier. Interestingly enough, the Suns had three players in the top 23 in assists per 36 - Goran Dragic 7.9, Garret 7.5 and Kendall Marshall 7.3 - which contradicts the prevailing sentiment that the Suns lack of shooting was holding their point guards back.

What about thievery? Diante is morally reprehensible. His 2.4 per 36 ranks him 7th in the NBA. The top three in the league played a combined 65 minutes. The other three are Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe.

So Garrett is one of the worst players in the league at shooting and taking care of the ball, but in the ranks of the elite at distributing and burglary. Is the chasmic difference startling? Not so much. The sample size is still microscopic enough there is no way to confirm these as definite trends. It is somewhat interesting to see these areas at such opposite ends of the spectrum, though.

Grade: C-

Judging Garrett based on his backcourt bench cohort


Neither of these guys had stellar years. While Kendall's bemoaned shooting woes placed him 12th in eFG% among Suns this season, Diante managed to finish dead last (16). In WS/36 Marshall ranks 12th again while Garrett once again is in the caboose.

Surprisingly, Garrett beats out Marshall in his one plus level skill (assists). Diante also shows his more diverse skill set with the edge in rebounding and steals.

While I give Kendall the slight nod among the rookies, I think Marshall clearly distances himself by virtue of being nearly three years younger than Garrett.

Grade: D+

Judging Garrett based on his stints with the Bakersfield Jam

Garrett excelled in his role for the Jam. He averaged 17.3 points (49.1% FG) and 7.3 assists in eight regular season appearances. He even made 13-21 three point attempts and 17-21 free throws, suggesting that his NBA numbers may not be entirely reflective of his ability. Is he awestruck or just unable to get similar looks at the highest level. Free throw shooting should be static, so maybe it's a case of the former...

His playoff numbers were even better as he averaged 21.0 points (50% FG), 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds in two games. Turnovers were still an issue for Garrett, however, as he averaged 3.0 per game over his 10 total appearances.

Garrett is eminently qualified as a D-Leaguer, but his ability to be productive as a pro is very suspect.

Grade: A-

Overall Grade: C

Garrett started the season as a fourth string rookie point guard who snuck onto the roster and played like one. He shouldn't have been better than third stringer Marshall, though he was close. He didn't do anything to make a case for an expanded role, but also fared well enough with the Jam to maintain a lambent glimmer of future potential. With an expected roster shake up it is unlikely that Garrett will return to the Suns as an end of the bench security guard, but hopefully he hasn't played himself out of the league. He will turn 25 at the start of next season and that's starting to get up there in terms of unproven prospects. I believe that Garrett met his expectations, but those expectations were practically non-existent.

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