The fit of the Phoenix Suns and point guard Kendall Marshall makes a lot of sense for both parties. Marshall averaged 9.7 assists per game in North Carolina’s up-tempo system, and his skill-set and leadership abilities translate to the Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry’s system whether Steve Nash returns or not.
Overall, the range of judgment is that it’s a so-so to a great pick.
Here’s a roundup of what everyone is saying about the Suns’ pick.
— Chad Ford of ESPN gives Phoenix a C grade in the 2012 draft, one of the more negative comments about the pick. He believes that if Nash stays, Marshall is a solid back-up but Ford goes as far as saying the 20-year-old isn’t an NBA starter at this point. He believes Marshall’s lateral quickness will keep him from taking a starting role, and I respectfully disagree in the sense that Mr. Nash can’t be any better on the defensive end. In the end, smarts will make him a decent defender.
— NBADraft.net gives the same reasoning as Chad Ford, though they were more kind in their grade, giving Phoenix a B+ on Thursday evening.
— Kelly Dwyer over at Ball Don’t Lie handed out a B to the Suns. The argument here is that Phoenix was one of the few franchises to pick based on need, though it’s possible that the swooping of all of the best players available in this year’s crop — Terrence Ross, Jeremy Lamb and Austin Rivers — led to the Suns taking what talent was available.
— CBS blogger Matt Moore gives the Suns a lowly D, and his reasoning is a bit different than the rest. And Moore doesn’t think it has anything to do with Marshall himself. The fact that the Suns don’t have any scoring talent around the point guard makes his passing talents a little pointless. In Marshall’s opening presser, he alluded to the fact that North Carolina’s mass exodus to the NBA Draft this season made the timing right for him to move on, as his stock couldn’t do much better than this past season. Michael Schwartz made the comment to me at the introductory presser that Marshall isn’t solving the lack-of-surrounding-talent problem here as well. Free agency might shore this problem up, at least to a degree.
— Giving an A+ to the Suns was USAToday’s Adi Joseph. Even with his recognition that Marshall might not be NBA-starter ready right off the bat, he believes in the pure numbers of how the floor general helps his teammates. Credit Joseph, who is one of few to even mention Marshall’s individual offensive limitions — after all, NBA point guards gain so much from being able to score themselves.