October 25, 2012: Suns add training camp invitees Garrett, Zeller to final roster
The Suns are planning on opening the season with the league maximum of 15 players for the first time since 2005.
When the roster is formally submitted to the NBA next week, it will include the names of Diante Garrett and Luke Zeller, a pair of training camp invitees.
Garrett’s inclusion is somewhat a surprise in that it means the Suns will carry four point guards. But at 6-4, the team likes his length. He also has the ability to play off the ball.
Garrett has played in four of the six preseason games.
The team’s belief in him was rewarded when, playing extended minutes, he scored seven points and had a team-high five assists at Oklahoma City.
Garrett went undrafted coming out of Iowa State in 2011. He spent last season playing internationally in Croatia and France. He then landed with the Suns Summer League team, where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in five games.
“After all of that,” he said of his journey to the NBA, “it all paid off for me.”
Zeller, meanwhile, beat out fellow big men Ike Diogu and Solomon Jones for a spot that opened up when it was learned Channing Frye would likely miss the upcoming season because of an enlarged heart.
“For me, it’s not a jump up-and-down excited kind of thing; it’s more a ‘Okay, now I need to work even harder,'” Zeller said of making an NBA regular season roster for the first time.
Like Garrett, Zeller went undrafted out of college. He ended his four years at Notre Dame in 2009 and since then has spent time playing in Japan, Lithuania as well as the D-League. Most recently, he was a member of the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team where he averaged 6.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games.
At 6-foot-11, Zeller not only can mix-it-up inside, but space the floor with the 3-point shot.
“Right now,” head coach Alvin Gentry said, “I just think those guys are pretty valuable guys that got a chance to be good players.”
While the Suns exercised their 2013-2014 option on the contract of forward Markieff Morris, they have yet to do so with forward Wes Johnson. That decision must be made by the end of the month.
PJ Tucker did not practice Thursday after undergoing LASIK eye surgery the day before.