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D-League Proving Ground for NBA Ready Players

Diante Garrett
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It can happen that fast.  One minute buying cereal at Wal-Mart and the next playing the entire fourth quarter in the NBA.  Diante Garrett is a best-case situation for the NBA Development League.

Garrett was a free agent after the end of last season appearing in 19 games for the Phoenix Suns.  A stint in the NBA Summer League earned Garrett a contract for the Oklahoma City Thunder for fall camp.  An allocation to the Tulsa 66ers followed by a trade to the Iowa Energy topped by a Gatorade call-up to the Utah Jazz.  Playing the entire fourth quarter, Garrett tallied 7 points and 5 assists in 21 minutes as the Jazz beat the Pelicans.

The shooting guard out of Iowa State made the most of his debut and typifies the standard of be ready when your name is called.  Every story doesn’t end that way, but it lends to the possibility of picking the player or players from the Sioux Falls Skyforce that could make the quantum leap.

Quincy Douby would be tagged as top candidate with his scoring ability.  Sioux Falls’ first round draft choice has an NBA pedigree so it’s not much of a stretch to say that he will be back to “the show.”  Douby was last in the NBA in 2009.  DeAndre Liggins was in the NBA last year with Oklahoma City and is in his third NBA season overall.  Bill Walker is the third player on the Skyforce roster formerly from the NBA with four years of service at the top level.

Three other prospects have not seen official game time in the NBA, but are intriguing possibilities.  Justin Hamilton, Larry Drew II and Anthony Mason, Jr. have close ties with the Miami Heat.  Two of them fresh from the most recent Heat camp (Hamilton, Drew II) and Mason, Jr. from 2010.  Will any or (gasp) all of them get a Gatorade Call-Up?  The season will tell.


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