Could Kendall Marshall be the Phoenix Suns' point guard of the future?

The Phoenix Suns need a point guard.

Kendall Marshall is as true a point guard as the 2012 Draft has to offer. It could be a match made in heaven.

If Marshall lasts until the 13th pick the Suns have to seriously consider selecting him over the scoring wings that they also covet. Marshall is the best passer the NCAA has seen in years, and the best Roy Williams said he has coached in his career.

There’s no better floor general, teammate, and leader in the draft, and Marshall specializes in pushing the pace and getting his team out on the break. For a Suns team that will be lacking a leader whenever Nash departs and wants to continue to get up and down, Marshall makes total sense.

His ceiling isn’t as high as some other prospects. He doesn’t have elite athleticism, a crazy wingspan, or blow-by quickness. But Marshall is a thinking man’s point guard who understands the game inside and out. If Phoenix were to surround him with the right talent there’s no question he could maximize it.

Therein lies the question however, is Marshall going to be successful without talent? He was loaded with lottery picks at UNC and in large part shined because of it. If the Suns select him he’ll be surrounded by mediocrity by NBA standards.

Do the Suns need a point guard so badly that they pass on some guys with more star potential? Does Marshall have a high enough ceiling to warrant a 13th overall pick?

Those are all legitimate questions the Suns’ front office needs to pose. One thing is certain, Marshall can pass the ball and pass it well. He’s also an underrated three-point shooter — shot over 40 percent during the second half of the season — and you saw how much the Tar Heels missed him when he went down with the wrist injury in the NCAA Tournament.

Marshall is NBA ready, he has great size, and some have compared his below the rim, controlled game to Jason Kidd’s. That may be a bit of a stretch, but Marshall is a point guard in the truest sense of the word and if the Phoenix Suns decide to go floor general over electric wing, he should be their guy if he’s available.

Sure, he struggles defending the perimeter and lacks any sort of mid-range game or explosiveness, but Marshall can get a team into its offense and if the Suns want a steady point guard for years to come, he’s their guy.

Tags: Draft Kendall Marshall

  • Ty-Sun

    I really like Marshall but he’s just not the player the Suns really need this year. Yes, Nash may be leaving and the Suns will need another NBA caliber starting PG if he does but I think the Suns are much more in need of scoring punch than anything else. What good is it to have a great passer if the people he passes to can’t score consistently? Marshall will probably find a starting spot in the NBA quickly but he’s much more valuable to teams that don’t need him to be a scoring threat too.

  • xavier

    The hardest positions to fill in the NBA are center and point. Center because size is rare, and point because PG skills are rare. Scoring wings, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen. You can put an undrafted rookie in with Gortat, Dudley, Morris, and Marshall, and they’ll score. Plenty of cheap free agent shooters available, anyway.

  • Ty-Sun

    All things considered, I’d rather the Suns take Royce White at 13 than pick Marshall. Marshall is the better passer and a pure old-school PG but White can play the point and give other teams fits trying to defend him because of his size and scoring ability. White certainly isn’t my first, second or even third choice for the Suns to draft but I think he’s much more versatile and has much more upside potential than Marshall.

  • KayGee19

    the last thing the suns need is another guy who cant put up shots, they need sum 1 to put buckets in bunches, whose young athletic & who can defend! please suns stay away from this guy!!!

  • Scott

    What I like about Marshall above other PG prospects is his passing ability and his maturity.

    Passing is such a rare talent. In recent years, we’ve only seen Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio as PGs with a high degree of this talent. The rest … not so much.

    The problem with Marshall is that he can see the court and pass, and he can lead, but he’s not very good on either offense or defense. That’s obviously a significant liability, especially when heading from college to the tougher competition of the NBA, and that’s what makes Marshall questionable to me as a lottery pick.

    However, Marshall does appear to have a good work ethic. He’s another one of those guys who’s been recently training 12 hours a day for the draft (both Marshall and Harkless are with IMG in Florida). Marshall is aware that he has to develop a knockdown shooting game in order to get his guys open in the NBA, and he says he doesn’t want to let his future team down by lacking that.

    Contrast this attitude to the one I previously ascribed to Childress, where after a summer and two full seasons Childress has still not addressed his exceptionally horrible 3 pt percentage and midrange shooting.

    The big ding on Marshall, though, is his defense. As with Jimmer Fredette last year, it’s hard to know just how impactful this will be. Marshall can compensate for his lack of athleticism on offense by making crafty shots, but it’s harder to do the same on defense.

    Nash came into the league with expert passing, a good offense that became excellent, and while not explosive, he has surprising foot speed. Rubio came into the league with stifling defense, good size and length (6′ 4″ with a wingspan of 6′ 9″), adept passing, and he quickly learned to score. Marshall comes into the NBA with lower potential than either of these examples, in that he has average length and speed, as well as no offensive game.

    If the Suns do pick Marshall, my hope is that he can quickly pick up offensive tricks from Nash and defensive tricks from Majerle and Elston Turner, because he’s never going to get by on athleticism.

    Another positive with this pick is that if the Suns do indeed lose Nash – nearly a “nuclear winter” scenario for Phoenix – Marshall should be able to use Gortat, Morris, and Warrick on offense properly, unlike PGs Telfair, Price, and Brooks. And if the Suns feature the defensively sound squad of Gortat, Morris, Hill (or Childress), and Dudley, these other players can probably cover for Marshall’s defensive deficiencies.

  • Scott

    @KayGee19 -

    I agree that in general the Suns should only pick players who have a good motor, have size and length, are athletic, and are defensively sound.

    Offense can be learned, but these other things need to be already present when the player is picked.

    The only exception that I can think of is for someone like Marshall – who has exceptional passing ability – because that trait is rare.

    Many NBA teams fail to fully unlock their offensive capabilities because their PG lacks court vision, the ability to make tough passes, and unselfishness.

  • Scott

    BTW, anyone here credit the rumor that Nash may go to NYC?

    NY is getting cap exceptions on some of its young players (Lin, Fields, not so young Novak), and the story is that it helps them make room for a quality free agent like Nash. I’m not sure exactly how much money is available, but it looks like enough, and the Knicks owner is not only fully loaded but he’s willing to spend money stupidly, as we saw during the Isiah Thomas era.

    Nash would have 2 stars to dish to, a defensive center who can also score at the hoop, perimeter shooters, and possibly the best backup PG of his career. He’d be a virtual lock for the playoffs, and he’d be playing on one of the world’s greatest sports stages.

    Furthermore, Nash could probably make good money on the side in endorsements.

    When you weigh what NYC has versus what the Suns are likely to be able to deliver … I’m not sure the Suns can keep Nash.

    This is a good thread to mention this in, as it puts more of a push behind drafting a PG like Marshall (or as some would prefer, Lillard).

  • Tony


    if the rumors are true, it appears that the Suns will also miss out on Daron Williams, as he allegedly has reduced his wish list to two teams, the Nets and Mavs. With even some in Dallas contending that Williams is likely to resign with the Nets, I’m thinking Nash will go back and finish his career with the Mavs.

    The Suns will be a bottom 3 team in the NBA next season as well. So I highly doubt Nash resigns with the Suns and play his remaining seasons with such a pathetic front office.

  • Scott

    @Tony -

    There’s also the rumor out there that Howard has renewed his interest in moving to Brooklyn. So it’s possible at this point that the NBA might feature a Nash-Amare-Carmelo powered Knicks versus a Deron-Dwight powered Nets in New York state. How exciting for them! :p

    Perhaps the saddest thing in this Nash-goes-to-NY scenario is that, so far as I can see, the Suns may get bupkis. The Knicks may even have room to take Hill on the veteran minimum, which would be a savvy move for him, too, in that he wants to get into broadcasting after his playing career is over. Obviously his chances of doing so rapidly increase if he moves to a media hub like NY.

    If this rumor comes true, the Knicks could start Nash, Hill, Carmelo, Amare, and Chandler, with Lin, Fields, Novak, Harrellson, and maybe Jordan coming in as the 2nd unit.

    And with Nash and Hill gone, I don’t know if Redd would re-sign with the Suns. I could see him taking Kobe up on his offer and joining the Lakers instead.

    If Nash is going to go, it would behoove the Suns to buy as many picks in this draft as they can, wouldn’t it? The free agent market is pretty bad at the moment, so I don’t think you can rebuild the Suns on the fly. I don’t see any point in signing Felton or Crawford or any of these other guys. Not only do draftees figure to be cheaper over several years, they can bring in some interest, as fans might be curious about what the new kids can do.

    I can also see where the Suns might even deal away assets for picks, letting current players such as Gortat and Dudley head off for greener pastures rather than keeping them tied to a losing team.

    The Suns FO has a lot of variables to chew on. We’ll soon see what Blanks is made of.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Hopefully the Suns won’t fall into the trap of drafting acording to need rather than the best available player.

    In the end, talent wins out.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Doesn’t matter, Lloyd.

    The Suns have needs at every position, even center if RoLo departs.

    So whoever the best is when they pick, that’s who itll be regardless of position

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    KJL -

    I always enjoy your take on the Suns!

  • Robert

    Good analysis, but man tat music grated after awhile.

  • Scott

    Here’s a link to a current story on Nash possibly going to the Knicks …

  • Scott

    In other news, it look like the NBA doesn’t expect Sullinger to be picked in the lottery, so he isn’t invited to the draft’s green room.

  • steve

    Sullinger – Perfect example of why you should get your money when you can.

  • KayGee19

    if the suns dont end up drafting Jeremy Lamb Terrence Ross or Dion Waiters then the Suns are failing in the draft, plain & simple!

  • Scott

    PJ3 … weak motor, or just needing physical adjustments to be more continuously effective?

  • PennyAnd1


    I agree to disagree with you. PG is more important than a wing player. So man wings out there anyways. Grab Kendall, because a high IQ PG will always beat an athletic Wing scorer. besides, Eric Gordon is still around for a trade to happen.

  • GoSuns

    @ Steve, how bout Rashard Lewis? 2011, per of 9.3, made over $21 mil, is owed $22 mil this upcoming season with a buyout of like $13 mil

  • steve


    I missed this earlier.

    “The hardest positions to fill in the NBA are center and point. Center because size is rare, and point because PG skills are rare. Scoring wings, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen.”

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more about PGs and scoring wings. There are more good PGs in the NBA right now than I think I have ever seen. I’ll go through a list of PGs I feel are competent enough to lead their team to deep playoff success:

    1. Chris Paul
    2. Derrick Rose
    3. Deron Williams
    4. Rajon Rondo
    5. Steve Nash
    6. Russell Westbrook
    7. Tony Parker
    8. Kyrie Irving
    9. Stephen Curry
    10. Ty Lawson
    11. Kyle Lowry
    12. Mike Conley
    13. Goran Dragic
    14. Brandon Jennings
    15. Lou Williams

    And then there are a bunch of PGs on the cusp like Jerryd Bayless, John Wall, and Isaiah Thomas, not to mention other guys who have proven they can do it in the past even though they aren’t all that efficient themselves any more like Jason Kidd and Devin Harris. There are enough quality PGs in the league right now for every team in the NBA to have one. That’s how easy a good PG is to come by.

    SGs? Not the same story at all. SG is much less of a “role player” position and much more of a “this is the guy who will make or break our championship hopes” kind of position. Think about the past 20 NBA championships and tell me how many of those teams depended on a SG and how many of them depended on a PG…

    Here are the SGs I think are good enough to depend on:

    1. Dwyane Wade
    2. Kobe Bryant
    3. Manu Ginobili

    That’s it. Then you get into a second tier with a few guys who might be on their way to that status:

    1. James Harden (although his pitiful Finals performance really dashed my hopes of him being a star)
    2. Monta Ellis
    3. Marcus Thornton
    4. Paul George (this one is kind of a stretch)

    Then you have the veterans who have shown to be useful, but not good enough to really be the alpha male on a great team:

    1. Joe Johnson
    2. Kevin Martin

    You have a handful of other guys at the 2 that could be considered average, but they’re never really going to be any better than that:

    1. Gerald Green
    2. George Hill
    3. Tony Allen
    4. Roddy Beaubois
    5. JR Smith
    6. Arron Afflalo
    7. JJ Reddick
    8. Gordon Hayward
    9. Wes Matthews

    All this to say that there are 30 PGs in the NBA I would WANT on my team – that I would feel are competent enough to lead my team to success. There are somewhere between 3 and 7 SGs I would WANT on my team. If I had any of the others, I would feel pretty confident that my team was heading nowhere fast.

  • KayGee19

    i hate this pick, the suns got worse

  • Altaf

    Deb Evans is a sweet woman who is clearly engegad with the material. However, the lecture format is unpleasant for a lit class. Only take this class if you are truly interested in the material.