Phoenix Suns draft grades roundup

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.

– 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.

  • HankS

    I’d give the Suns an A for drafting Marshall: he’s a uniquely tallented floor general and a mature guy who genuinelly wants to play in Phoenix. (Others even refused to work out for the Suns.) He could become the next face of the franchise and fan’s favourite. Besides, it’s not clear there were any better choices left at No. 13.

    And then I’d give the Suns a D- for not drafting anyone else. Moultree, whom they liked enough to bring him for another workout, was available for next to nothing from the Heat. The Rockets ended up with more picks than they can realistically accommodate. With the Celtics’ or the Thunder’s picks the Suns could have gotten some intriguing tallent. Yet the Suns brass did nothing.

  • Scott

    I’m with Hank … the Suns get an A on this from me. I’ve been wanting the Suns to get the backup and future PG situation settled for some time now. It’s been clear for years that Barbosa wasn’t the guy, and Dragic was skilled and interesting, but I admit it was hard for me to see him leading the team after Nash was gone. Marshall is more of the mature floor general type that I expect Phoenix to put on the court.

    Phoenix waited as long as they could to get someone, and finally they picked a player who has a chance of carrying the team forward. That’s why they get the A.

    Now yes, the team needs more scoring talent. That will be an issue for free agency and future drafts.

    If Marshall has the good sense he appears to have, he’ll be spending the summer preparing, getting his shot worked on and beginning work on acquiring some go-to scoring moves.

    If Marshall is the success I expect him to be, he should beat out Telfair at PG fairly quickly. Telfair always struggled to get the team’s offense going, and while Marshall may struggle a bit with turnovers in the early season, I think the difference between the two players will be like night and day.

    As for the Suns not drafting anyone else – as Hank pointed out – I don’t think you can judge them on this yet. While additional good picks would be nice, we have to find out what they have planned for free agency. If they have an actionable plan to get a scoring SG that brings Nash back, then they didn’t need to grab anyone else in the draft.

    As I said in an earlier thread … the Suns just need one more player than they had last year. If Marshall is taking the place of Price, then the “new guy” – Eric Gordon, Ray Allen, OJ Mayo, or whoever – takes the spot previously held by Brown. Then we assume Nash, Hill, Redd, and Lopez all return, and the roster is full.

    With Frye starting the season on the injured list, it’s also possible the Suns will bring in a PF. However, it’s also possible that the Suns will be able to start Morris and actually use Warrick and Childress on the 2nd unit, since Marshall is a pass-first PG.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Guys, have a read of this.

    I think this sums up why I really like this Marshall selection so much.

    Those who have watched the Suns know that when Gentry has THE RIGHT PIECES AT HIS DISPOSAL, he can make the team sing.
    Outside of STAT, Nash, and J-Rich nobody is talking about that WCF team from a couple of years ago minus Dragon who is blossoming into a stud [cuts this off to manage anger]

    Gentry has a system, and he knows what he’s doing when he is given players who can execute said system. You could see the problems going into that off-season post-Amare and no actual management team in place. They just went for whoever thinking it’d work where now the understanding seems to be in place.

    Gortat was brought in, Keef was selected, and now the #NextPointGod has been selected to execute certain things that Gentry will require. This is how you’re supposed to build your franchise.

    Now certainly the order of these selections would have been different via this draft, but all of the bonafide scoring demons were off the board by 13 so you get your point guard.

    As it stands, the Suns are slowly ejecting players who can’t perform a simple or more complex Gentry task and replacing them with a roster of Gentry-compatible players.

    The best part being the new management of finances during this rebuild. These small, year-or-two contracts designed to keep them within the spending rules of the new CBA serve to constantly have that pool of cash at the ready for superstar upgrades over the next few seasons.

    That same new financial strategy will ensure all draft picks over the next few seasons remain in PHX and also open up the possibility of the team purchasing a few more.

    We’re all used to winning every season around here which is why it’s so hard for a lot of fans to stomach what is happening now, and while the previous years showed great immaturity in the front office, I’m giving them a “so far so good” grade from last year’s draft up to now.

  • bk

    It’s like playing chess game. You cannot grade a single move here. At least you need to look at what they do on the coming free agency shopping.

  • Vince

    It was in Chad Ford’s article that he said you really can’t grade the draft until after a while and he has a very valid point. But if I had to give a grade, it would be a B. It’s a solid fit, especially with the high tempo offense the Suns run. His court vision and passing ability will definitely help the Suns.

    However, there isn’t much talent to pass to and Steve Nash really made this below average Suns into a sort of decent one and Kendall Marshall has a long ways to go before he is reaches to Steve Nash’s level.

    On another note, if Nash doesn’t return next year, the Suns will likely go after Goran Dragic in free agency. Before the lockout season at the trade deadline, the Suns traded the Kendall Marshall pick (lottery protected) and Dragic for Aaron Brooks. Now it seems like they prefer Dragic to Brooks. Come on guys, seriously, SMARTEN UP!

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    They’ve pretty much said that the Dragic trade was a terrible move at the time. IT WAS A HORRIBLE MOVE AT THE TIME… HORRIBLE. /StephenASmith

    With Marshall drafted though, I don’t see them going after Dragic now. You draft Marshall in the first round to be your point guard of the future. Dragic is still in the “point guard of the future” category himself so now, I don’t see that move happening.

    Actually I think that whole failure of a trade brought the front office some enlightenment. They’ve been pretty smart since that trade.

    The talent will come as Marshall gets better as an NBA player and that’s a good thing. I’m sure Gortat is quitely (selfishly?) excited about the current Suns roster because Nash or Marshall will be stuffing the ball down his throat. I expect a lot more 20 / 10 games from him this season.

    What I am afraid of is the growing free agent class. Guys like Beasley, JR Smith, and JJ Hickson are headed for free agency and I would really like for the front office to not sign them to crazy Warrick-like contracts.

    The System in PHX fits all 3 of them but Beas and JR Smith aren’t exactly the types of player I envision being part of Marshall’s beginning.

  • Ty-Sun

    I know that the Suns want Lopez back next season but if some team makes him a crazy offer they might decide to let him go. In that case, I think it might make more sense for the Suns to go after another PF instead of a C and put Frye back as the bench unit C.

    And if Nash leaves I can see Gentry playing Telfair and Marshall much like he did Lopez and Gortat after the trade that brought Gortat to the Suns. Basically letting Telfair start but giving Marshall the majority of minutes on the floor.

  • PennyAnd1

    I’m with Hank & Scott.

    I just wished Suns can keep Nash for atleast just one more year along with bringing in Ray Allen, Eric Gordon, and Josh Smith..

  • Scott

    @Vince -

    Actually, the Suns traded the Dragic and 2nd round pick for last year for Aaron Brooks. That pick turned out to be MarShon Brooks, who is now with the Brooklyn Nets. The Suns kept the 1st round pick, which became Markieff Morris.

    This year, the Suns had no 2nd round pick because it had been given to Atlanta to secure the rights to Josh Childress.

  • Scott

    BTW, has anyone else read the article on Nash at ESPN?

    Now, it wouldn’t be the first time a news organization tried to generate controversy. But they do make it sound like there’s almost no way Nash is returning.

  • Scott

    One other thought …

    Now that the Suns have Marshall (an unproven quantity, but still a guy they’re going to go with), maybe they should just release Aaron Brooks. Is there any point in keeping him? I mean, if they keep him and start him, the Suns will suck. And if they release him and start Telfair or Marshall, the Suns will suck. So why tie themselves to Brooks?

    I’d be more interested in the Suns checking out Scott Machado, who will almost certainly be playing in Summer League. (So glad Summer League is back!) And maybe Zack Rosen or Tu Holloway. If he’s available, I’d also be interested in Nemanja Nedovic, who might be another floor general type.

    In other words … if Nash isn’t returning, should the Suns take a hesitant half step with the PG spot? If the Suns are destined for the lottery anyway, then get a high pick. Let Marshall get court time and find another young guy who can reasonably be the backup, and possibly challenge Marshall.

    (The only flaw I can find in this plan is that it may upset whatever star FA the Suns get, assuming they get one and yet still lose Nash.)

  • bk

    Is it possible to have Goran Dragic as starter and Kendall Marshall as backup? The FO needs to spend the money to meet the floor of spending anyway.

  • Scott

    @bk -

    The Suns FO didn’t have to cut Dragic because of too many players at his position or salary cap reasons. They cut him because they thought he couldn’t play, and publicly said so. If they take him back and for some reason he doesn’t perform well, then who looks stupid?

    It’s better for the Suns to go in a different direction with PGs, and publicly admit that Dragic can play. And in the future, Blanks should keep is mouth shut; if he can’t say something nice about a player, he shouldn’t say anything at all.

    Besides, there’s so much interest in Dragic now, some team is likely to overpay him.

  • Ty-Sun

    Houston is shopping Lowry which means they probably are planning to do their best to resign Dragic. And I’m sure if he doesn’t resign with them that there will other offers from better teams coming his way so I doubt he would consider coming back to the Suns without a completely outrageous contract offer… which is very doubtful to come from the Suns’ FO.

  • Scott

    BTW, regarding the Nash article I linked above … that interview with Nash has also been released on video and it doesn’t seem to me to be nearly so certain that Nash is going to go.

    Nash does say that he isn’t sure the Suns really want him. I don’t know his reasoning for that. It’s probably just that he wants more money and a longer contract, and the Suns perhaps did not open negotiations with their best offer.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Suns offering Nash a 3 year contract. If nothing else, in his 3rd year he’ll have an expiring contract, and with Calderon coming off the rolls, that might be the time to trade him to Toronto for a victory lap in his homeland.

  • PennyAnd1

    PG: Nash, Marshall, Telfair
    SG: Allen, Dudley
    SF: Gordon, Hill, Childress
    PF: Garnett or Josh Smith, Morris
    C: Gortat & Lopez

    Man I am salivating for this line-up to happen.

    This team would be the smartest team in the NBA! Period!

  • KayGee19

    This was a safe pick 4 Phoenix but doesn’t mean it was the best pick, I agree with Chad & others who gave this pic a negative grade, its true it wasn’t a good pick, the suns have no real talent no athleticism so Marshall’s passing talents wont really matter until suns upgrade in talent plain & simple. & fans dnt tell me otherwise cuz its fact the proof is in the pudding! Im looking around the league & almost every team got better except this organization, its like how the hell can OKC have a better draft @ 28 than the suns @ 13 WTH!! If I was the suns I would immediately offer Gortat 2 Houston 4 J Lamb R White & T Jones, then this Kendall Marshall would be a whole lot sweeter! Sum 1 pass this trade 2 the big wigs in PHX 2 make this happen! CMON SUNS LEHGO!!!

  • Edward

    Nash/Marshall /telfair
    Garnett/josh smith/Morris

  • Edward

    Suns should go after Ray Allen josh smith Eric Gordon

  • thatdude

    U guys are getting paid by the FO im convinced or u have no idea what ur talking about .. Ray Allen to Miami, josh smith to phx???? Really???? LOL .. I might see them trying to pursue OJ but again theyll spin it to the public they tried their best. 20-62 MIGHT get us a top 3 next year and hilopefully they dont sell the pick

  • steve

    Yes, because everyone who isn’t a negative Nancy is on sarver’s payroll. You found us all out. I guess we can clock out now, everyone.

  • Ty-Sun

    Forget Garnett. ESPN is reporting he’s preparing to sign a 3-year $34 mil deal to stay in Boston… big surprise there. They may let Allen go but not Garnett after the year he had this year.

    And Gordon starting at SF?!?!? He’s an undersized SG (6′ 3”)!!! Unless you’re talking about another “Gordon” that plays SF that I’m completely unaware of that idea is… bad (and I’m trying to be kind by just calling it a bad idea).

  • Ty-Sun

    Oh yeah, Josh Smith is NOT a free agent this year so the only way he might possibly end up in a Suns uni is through a trade. Gortat is the only player the Suns have that Atlanta might even consider trading Smith for… for about 3 seconds before saying “no”.

  • Tony


    you’ve already proven your loyalties are to your bff Sarver, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he does pay you to write horrendously ignorant and useless comments.


    Actually, I disagree about the prospects of trading for Josh Smith. Atlanta needs a big, Horford is really more of a PF than C, and so, if the Suns offered Gortat, in addition to maybe Dudley or Morris, or even a future draft pick, they might be interested. It doesn’t sound like Smith appreciates playing in Atlanta anymore, so I’m sure the Hawks organization would prefer trading him rather than seeing him walk in free agency and get nothing in return, ala Sarver with Shawn Marion, Amare, and now likely Nash.

    As far as Dragic is concerned, drafting Marshall means no Dragic at this point. Now, when the love-fest for an already overhyped Marshall is over, I’m sure some day the dummies in the front office will then pursue Dragic for his next contract. Furthermore, the Rockets are big fans of Dragic and all signs point to them extending him anyway.

    Lastly, with regards to Gordon, remember folks, he’s a restricted free agent, not an unrestricted one. The Hornets new owner, Tom Benson, has already stated he wants and plans on retaining Gordon. Unlike one franchise’s particular owner who likes to lowball and allow his star players to sign elsewhere, most owners don’t follow this insane path. And then there’s the fallout of all the positive pr that the Hornets are currently getting with drafting Davis by letting Gordon then leave. It wouldn’t make any business sense to let him leave for nothing.

  • Ty-Sun

    Smith might be possible IF the Suns were to trade Gortat and Dudley or Morris but I think that Atlanta would want the Suns to take at least one of their bad contracts along with the deal. But if they were willing to take Gortat, Dudley or Morris AND Childress or Warrick in exchange for Smith and one of their bad contracts then it might work out well for both teams.

    One SG that I haven’t heard anyone talking about the Suns making a play for is Landry Fields. He’s a RFA this year and I think he would be a great addition to the Suns if they could get him. He’s not the high scoring SG that we all want but he does everything else very well, is a team player, a good character guy and proved that he can play the up temp style under D’Antoni. NY would be hard pressed to match even a good but not outrageous contract offer and I think he would be and excellent addition to the Suns. I also think that if given the green light to score (which I don’t think he’s ever had in NY), he can improve to at least being a 15-16 ppg scorer.

    And for those who think OJ Mayo would be a good addition, Memphis decided to not make him a qualifying offer so he is not an unrestricted free agent instead of a restricted free agent. I like his game but I’ve read that he’s not really a team player which could partially be why the Griz didn’t even make him a qualifying offer to keep him as a RFA. He’s an option for sure but I’d rather see the Suns spend their FA money on Fields. He would fit right in here.

  • Edward

    If the go good players They will win chapship next year

  • Ty-Sun

    Lol… I got that backward about OJ Mayo. I meant to say that he is not a restricted free agent but an unrestricted FA since Memphis declined to make him a qualifying offer.

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    I think Mayo has been disgruntled because he’s always used by the Grizzlies as an afterthought. For whatever reason, after the first season in which he played well and showed promise, Memphis put him on the back burner in order to develop other talents. It could be that he’s just a mismatch for their style and they’ve held onto him sheerly for this cheap rookie contract and perimeter shooting.

    If I was in the Suns FO, I’d be seriously considering Mayo if he’s cheap, doubly so if there’s the sense Nash isn’t returning. As a rookie he showed promise as a scorer and defender. He’s got some PG abilities. If he’s inexpensive and doesn’t come off as a headcase in interviews, who knows … he could be a long-term keeper.

    One problem he’s always had though … he loses his man in transition, even though he isn’t rebounding. He’s done that in college, and I’ve seen him do it even in big games with Memphis. If he comes to Phoenix, that’s got to be a point of emphasis: simplify things by telling Mayo to guard the basket every time.

  • Ty-Sun

    Maybe you are right, Scott… or maybe Mayo just isn’t team player. Neither of us knows for sure which is the real story. As I said, I like Mayo’s game but he comes with some questions about his character that keeps me from jumping on the Mayo bandwagon. Maybe it’s all bull but maybe not. Could he be an asset to the Suns? Of course he could be. I just don’t think that the Suns should consider him as their #1 target as a FA at the SG spot .

  • Edward

    Suns should go after mayo just inkas if Steve Nash laves