During a visit to Salt Lake City last month, Diante Garrett’s mother looked around his apartment and made a motherly observation.
"She told me my place is all cozy," the Utah Jazz point guard says. "It feels like home."
Garrett’s season stats
Gms Pts Ast FG% 3%
64 3.7 1.8 39.0 38.2
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That’s exactly what Garrett has been looking for — at least in terms of basketball — since being undrafted out of Iowa State in 2011. Since then, Garrett’s journey has taken him from Europe to the D-League, with stops in Phoenix and Oklahoma City along the way.
And now, the midseason pick-up is looking to put down roots.
"You try and not think about it all the time ... because it will weigh you down," said Garrett, who is looking to solidify his spot on next year’s roster. "Just go out there and do what you’ve been doing all year and put even more effort into it, because there are going to be a lot of eyes watching, a lot of people watching, a lot of people talking."
The Jazz have seven games left, beginning Friday with the New Orleans Pelicans, a team with which Garrett has some history.
After being let go by the Suns and later the Thunder in training camp, the point guard was looking for another chance in October.
"They’ll find you no matter where you play," his father, former NBA player Dick Garrett, told him.
The Jazz found Garrett in Iowa, waiting for the start of the D-League season. On Nov. 13, Garrett signed his contract with the Jazz and then stepped onto the court without a practice, helping them snap an eight-game losing streak by beating New Orleans 111-105.
Since then, Garrett has established himself as the Jazz’s No. 2 point guard, playing in a total of 64 games this year and averaging 3.7 points and 1.8 assists per game.
"I think now he’s playing much better because he’s more relaxed this year. He’s a little more confident," Dick Garrett said earlier this year. "I can tell with his body language. And the reason is he knows he’s going to play. Previously, you got to the gym and you don’t know if you’re going to play or not, and it’s hard to be consistent."
Garrett is once again coming up on a moment of uncertainty, however, with just seven guaranteed games left on his deal. He has a team option for next year, and while he’d be a bargain by NBA standards at under $1 million, he has not had any talks with the team about his future.
"They’re crucial moments for everybody," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "Everybody’s still being evaluated. Everybody’s still watching. There are 29 other teams. I always tell the guys, you’re not just playing for us and yourselves. You’re playing to be looked at by the other 29 teams. So you’ve got to try to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward."
For now, Garrett is focused on impressing the Jazz.
Said the point guard, "I think I did a pretty good job coming in and showing what I can do. Just getting an opportunity, that’s what I’ve been waiting for."
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