Diante Garrett has tattoos on his arms that spell out "Carpe Diem."
A month ago, the point guard thought he was going to get the opportunity to seize the moment with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That didn't quite work out. Just before the 2013-14 season tipped off, the Thunder released the 25-year-old, who was hoping to find his second NBA home.
A couple of weeks later, Garrett got another chance with the Utah Jazz.
Even in this season-starting slump, Garrett is thoroughly enjoying this chance to be on an NBA team and to play. It was two weeks ago Monday night when he was shopping at Wal-Mart and got the call from his agent that the Jazz were going to bring him up from Iowa of the D-League to replace waived Jamaal Tinsley.
Garrett quickly became a fan favorite as he played a key role in Utah's only win of the season the same night he signed with the NBA squad 12 days ago.
His Jazz highlights so far?
Garrett: "Just being able to play and actually getting out there and helping the team out and living your dream."
We've probably already hashed and re-hashed the frustration at seeing John Lucas III do next to nothing in his 19 minutes of playing time against the Bulls on Monday, while Garrett languished on the bench. But I'd just like to take another moment to recognize him here.
I like Garrett because he plays with a distributor's mindset. This may be my personal biases at play -- years of watching John Stockton will do that to you -- but I cherish players who are always looking to make a good pass.
One of my favorite things about Trey Burke's performance on Monday was the way he rewarded his teammates for running the floor with him. Garrett has that same frame of mind. I love it. It engenders trust and cooperation within a roster.
Beyond that, I love Garrett's "carpe diem" mentality. Yeah, it's trite and cheesy and might smack a bit too much of a certain Robin Williams movie, but I think Garrett understands that time in the NBA is short. (He probably understands it all too well, as his previous stint with the Suns was undoubtedly shorter than he'd have liked.)
Every player we now see in a Jazz uniform is "food for worms," if I may wax poetical. Even in a season with zero expectations, I hope our players take the opportunity to make their play extraordinary.
I mentioned Trey Burke's unselfish play Monday night. The Trib's Aaron Falk pointed out last week that Burke took advantage of his injury by using the time on the bench to observe and learn:
But while the Jazz have struggled, the injury may have been a boon for Burke.
"Trey has a great opportunity to learn where he's not forced into the action," Jazz legend John Stockton said just a week or so before Burke was cleared to play. "Being hurt might actually be a positive for him. ... I know my first year I spent on the bench behind Rickey Green was a great learning tool for me, and I would recommend that for young guards."
"I think that's the biggest thing for me, learning when to attack and when to set up the offense," Burke said. "Just watching guys like Tony Parker and Deron Williams, some of the top guards, and just their pace, having the opportunity to see the game from the coach's perspective, I think it's definitely helped me out a lot."
Now, before you jump down my throats: I'm NOT advocating that every young player sit and watch before getting in the game. I'm a learn-by-doing kind of guy, and I absolutely think Trey Burke should have been starting from Day 1 had he not broken his finger. But I also think observing might have been the perfect thing for him.
We know Trey had a horrible summer league. We know he didn't look fantastic in preseason before his injury, either. It looked to me like he was forcing his game, and that seemed to be a by-product of the pressure he felt as the immediate savior of the Jazz franchise. Relieving that pressure was a good thing, I think.
Mind you, his performance Monday was far from perfect. But the confidence, the decision-making speed, the swagger...it was all there. If watching while sidelined helped bring that out, then I'm all for it.
FanPosts! Did you like last week's Occupy Downbeat movement? I might try it again some other week. I want to make sure your voices are heard. (Yes, even dissenting ones.)
For this week, Ozzy3313 starts things off with a conspiracy theory:
I see a lot of people refer to the Draft Lottery being rigged. I would be lying if I said that I've never wondered it before too. But I guess I really just want to know if people honestly feel that the NBA and Stern rig the Lottery. Let's say the Jazz continue this wonderful display of NBA basketball and veteran development and finish with the worst record in the league. I know that having the worst record in the league in the past has more often yielded a pick that is not #1. I guess each of the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs have some sort of shot at the #1 pick. Now that I'm writing this, I am definitely seeing how this could be rigged to give the Fakers the #1 pick. But do people really think that happens?
I have two thoughts on this. 1) The NBA would never consciously give Cleveland two number-one picks in such a small span of years. 2) The Cavs used their pick on Anthony Bennett anyway. You can't rig stupid.
Next, in keeping with the conspiracy flavor, pacoelcid goes all Fox Mulder on us with a humorous look at veteran players and team success:
When you enter Fox Mulder's office, one of the first things that jumps out at you, besides clutter and a variety of books, is a poster of a UFO with the words "I WANT TO BELIEVE" written on the bottom. This poster helped Mulder stay focused; you see, Mulder's ultimate goal was to uncover what he believed to be a government conspiracy to hide the truth about alien life, and to find out what happened to his sister who had mysteriously disappeared in his youth.
Almost as mysterious as the disappearance of Mulder's sister is the extent Ty plays his vets. This mystery is almost to X-File levels (queue X-File theme song).
Despite the light-hearted tone, there are some interesting charts in there. Check 'em out.
Lastly, Beeblebrox42 asks a very pertinent question to a certain sub-segment of this site's population:
Coach Corbin gets a lot of hate on this site. It goes beyond disagreement, or even dislike. A lot of SLCDunkers display HATRED for Ty Corbin. Please note that I'm using the word 'display.' My personal belief is that most of us don't actually hate Ty, we may hate how he coaches, but we don't actually hate the man himself. I may be wrong. That's fine. What I really want to know is:
Would anything change your mind about Ty?
What say ye, Dunkers? Click through and opine.
Grantland's Danny Chau watched Monday's game. He was not kind:
Midway through the third quarter, Gordon Hayward bricks a shot so badly it pegs Gobert in the face as it falls from the backboard.
Hayward is now shooting 28.4 percent from the field over his last seven games.
He was harder on the Bulls, though. And he did make fun of our announcers, so that's something.
Other national writers are straight-up swearing off watching our team:
I might need a hiatus from watching the Jazz.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 25, 2013
OK guys, intervention time. if you're watching Bulls-Jazz , even if you're a fan of either team, stop. Don't do this to yourself.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 26, 2013
What would it take to get you to quit watching? You'd have to pry my cold dead hands off the remote, personally. I can't NOT watch. Even if what I see confuses and depresses me utterly.
We'll probably see more of these thoughts tomorrow (at the risk of beating Spencer to the punch), but Salt City Hoops' Laura Thompson has taken a look at what Jazz fans can be thankful for, even in this winter of our discontent.
For myself? I'm thankful Trey Burke is back on the court. I'm thankful for every G-Time fast break. I'm thankful for Jeremy Evans' smooth dunking style. I could mention lots more. But I'm especially thankful for all of you crazy fans to share this miserable season with me.