New Orleans Hornets 78, Phoenix Suns 61 — Marshall disappoints again


It would be ridiculous to draw many conclusions from two measly games of Summer League.

That being said, Kendall Marshall is not exactly dominating the way a lottery pick should.

Marshall followed up last night’s scoreless, five-turnover effort against Cleveland by clanking nine of 10 shots to score three points while dishing five assists once again. On the bright side, Marshall cut his turnovers down to two but the Suns were outscored by 23 points in his 30:48 of court time in this 78-61 loss to the Austin Rivers-less Hornets.

Marshall made a couple nice passes to find shooters and cutters alike, but that lack of scoring ability once again has got to be disconcerting. The Suns did not draft him to score but if he can’t put up any points in Summer League one has to wonder if his offense will be effective enough in the pros to prevent opponents from crowding the passing lanes.

You may remember that some teams would actually dare the great Steve Nash to score just because the Suns were always better when he was getting everybody involved than when he scored 30. Obviously it would be insane to compare Marshall to Nash offensively in the least bit, but Marshall must become at least a threat to put the ball in the basket.

Of course, he’s playing with Markieff Morris and a bunch of guys who are not NBA players, so surely Marshall will improve along with the talent of his teammates.

“I felt like I was at my best in college when I had a lot of scorers around me,” Marshall said at his introductory press conference. “The guys I had, I was blessed with around me made me look good in that aspect.”

Marshall isn’t exactly playing with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson on the Summer Suns, yet 1-for-10 is pretty ugly any way you slice it.

Morris hit a few tough shots on his way to a 13-point, six-board, two-block outing. Keef missed four of his five treys and nine of 13 shots total but overall looked the part of a player who doesn’t belong in Summer League anymore before hurting his right knee in the fourth, an injury Dan Majerle did not sound concerned about.

“He stands out amongst these guys here,” said Suns owner Robert Sarver on the NBA TV telecast. “He’s going to be very good.”

It would be nice to see Morris dominate opponents in one-on-one situations more, which he did not really do tonight, but that’s not the player he is in the NBA really. He can hit spot-up jumpers and make the occasional post move, but he’s not exactly comfortable being the go-to guy that he is for the Summer Suns.

After Keef, the only other Sun to really make an impression on me was Marcus Landry, the only other Sun to reach double figures (11) in a game in which Phoenix knocked down a mere 33.3 percent of its shots. Aside from his three treys, Landry corralled five boards and just always seemed to be hitting the deck for a loose ball. He just wants it more than most of the other Summer Leaguers.

I know plus/minus means nothing on a game-to-game basis, particularly in Summer League, but still it’s noteworthy that the Suns were only -2 in his 28:48 and thus -15 in the 11:12 he sat.

If the Suns are going to consider one of these players for a roster spot, Landry seems to be the best fit. He’s certainly deserving of another training camp invitation and could be a nice 12th man to provide depth on the wing.

Sarver on free agency strategy

It was really interesting to hear Sarver provide his takes on the Suns, particularly when he discussed the Suns’ free agency plan.

“I think we’re pretty close to done, however we do have some cap space and we’ll have some cap space next year,” the owner said. “I also think one of the things we saw that was nice this year in free agency was a lot of the top players wanted to come to Phoenix. The top four or five or six guys out there in free agency with the exception of Deron Williams pretty much all wanted to come here. I think we’ll be able to be active next year in free agency, too. That’s the tough thing, trying to balance spending all your cap space and getting as good as you can get this year and kind of being patient. Trying to balance being good but having a little patience, too, to be great is very difficult.”

I hope that means the Suns are done handing out long-term contracts this summer because they are mindful of the importance of saving cap space for next summer.

Sarver unplugged

On Nash’s departure: “I was spoiled to be affiliated with Steve the last eight years. When I bought the team it was the first signing we did, and obviously we had a lot of success, started to kind of plateau a little bit and we felt we needed to get a little younger and speed up our transition as a team. It was in our best interest to get some younger players, and we met with Steve quite a bit, but at the end of the day I think the Suns weren’t the best fit for him and he wasn’t the best fit for us given where we were and given where he was. Fortunately we were able to make a deal that got us some picks and also got him close to a location where his kids are and play for a team that can compete for a championship, so I think at the end of the day it turned into a win-win for both of us, but it’s difficult in this sport, in this business you have to make a lot of tough decisions, and sometimes it’s hard but you have to try to take the emotion out of it, and that’s kind of what at the end of the day I had to do in trading him to the Lakers.”

On rebuilding: “It’s tough. There’s parts of our business that’s a little bit unique in that in sometimes in order to get good you’ve got to get bad, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but in basketball that’s how the business works with the draft picks. I’m not sure we really want to go down that path, so we tried to attempt to transition by having some good veterans and at the same time bringing in some younger players.”

On Dragic: “I was very excited to get Goran. He got an opportunity to take over the team, and I think when he got the reins there he showed really what he could do. I think it’s going to be good.”

On Beasley: “One of the things our players said when we played against them was they thought he was one of the toughest covers. We’re excited to see how he’s going to do.”

On the Suns’ training staff: “That kind of one of the things I never really understood about this business is how much money we spend on player but yet maybe we don’t spend as much on taking care of them. … We’re investing quite a bit more money for next season in some new things that are going to take us to an even significantly higher level than we are now hopefully heading toward some of the top soccer teams in the world to truly lead our league in professional sports in terms of taking care of the players and enhancing physical performance and avoiding injuries. We think that’s a real strength of ours.”

Tags: Kendall Marshall Marcus Landry Markieff Morris Robert Sarver

  • Scott

    Maybe it would be a good idea to pair Marshall with Fredette. They could crosstrain each other.

    I doubt the Suns are going to go for Brandon Rush, so I’ll renew my plea for Zo-Zo (Zoran Dragic). I still like the idea of getting an offensive and a defensive SG (assuming we’re at the point where you can’t get players who are both).

    I’d be okay with Marcus Landry as backup SF, but honestly I don’t think he’ll ever amount to much in the league. If possible, I’d like to get someone who is NBA caliber, with a future.

    Maybe a re-signed Lopez could be dealt to the Kings for Fredette and Johnson?

  • Scott

    FWIW, I’m also not terribly impressed with IMG’s training of Harkless and Marshall during the draft period. Both guys were doing 12-hour days there, but neither player came away with anything new so far as I could see, especially no new moves or confidence on offense, when both players went in with the idea they were offensively impaired.

  • Scott

    Or maybe the Suns could get in on the Howard to LA trade and submit Lopez (and maybe a pick) in exchange for Royce White and Chandler Parsons.

  • Majestic One

    I’ll wait for preseason games before I start judging K Marshall.

  • punishment39

    Majestic One you hit the nail on the head!

  • Ty-Sun

    I agree about waiting until the preseason games before making any kind of judgment on Marshall. Other than Morris, most of the rest of his teammates will be lucky to play in the D-league this year! You can’t get many assists if your teammates don’t score. And it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Marshall isn’t a scorer. Everyone knew that was a part of his game he was going to work on long before draft day.

  • Ty-Sun

    sorry, that last bit should be “… he was going to need to work on…”.

  • Greg

    @ Scott

    Please get off Zoran, he is a nice talent that has the potential to be a similar player to his brother, but have you even bothered looking at the box scores of his games? He has not been anywhere near productive against mediocre competition. He is a nice talent but he would serve the Suns better if he played in europe for another year or two. A guy getting 15 mins a game off the bench for a summer league team is not a good sign. The announcers and people are high on him because of his last name, not really anything he has done. He is an active defender and can make some steals, but thats really the extent of what he has demonstrated so far.

    He is a long way off from helping any NBA team, let alone a team that hopes to be in the race for the final playoff spot(s).

    Everyone puts too much stock into summer-league games. Adam Morrison dropped 23 yesterday! Why dont we get him!? give me a break.

  • Greg

    If the Suns plan is to tank for a high lottery pick, then yes, by all means sign Zoran up and give him 4 years to develop like it took Goran. So 3-4 years from now he could be a legit contributor.

  • Scott

    FWIW, if there IS any interest from the Suns in Fredette, I gather that with his performance last year and his performance in this year’s Summer League, that he’s dangling from the Kings’ roster by a thread.

    He could probably be had for a 2nd round pick or something similar.

    @Greg -

    Are you a player hater? Now I can’t even mention him … you know who, that guy …

    Have you seen him play? Or are you judging him off box scores?

    BTW, speaking of the Rockets in Summer League … as I alluded to before, Royce White might be an interesting pick up if the Suns could get him. I think he’s playing at SF mostly for the Rockets right now, but he’s got the weight to play at C as well. I wonder if he could play like Boris Diaw did at C.

  • Greg

    @ Scott

    I liked Royce Whites game, I think he is literally an enhanced, stronger, more athletic version of Boris Diaw. He is massive. Point forward who can score a little, rebound, and assist. Fills up alot of the stats on a box score, hed be an interesting piece coming off the bench, but he would be costly too, and he likley isnt available unless he was involvedin a Dwight deal (which isnt happening).

    Haha not trying to be a player hater, “that guy”. I have seen him play a little and watched some youtbe videos on him couple weeks back. He is a lefty like Goran, with length and solid height (6’5 i believe), and he can really penetrate and get to the rack. he is a high energy, active defender. I like his potential, i literaly see Goran from 4 years ago in alot of ways. I am not bashing you liking him, I agree, its just he is not a realistic option to come in and play for the Suns this year, or probably next, and have any type of contribution. He is still very raw. And the box scores dont show everything a player does on the court, but stats dont really lie too often, he hasnt been very good or very productive. 24% from field and 14% from 3, is not good at all, even in his limited minutes.

    Im not trying to assume, but if his last name wasnt Dragic, people wouldnt even talk about him and you likley wouldnt be advocating for his services.
    As i said, nice talent, tons of upside, but he isnt nearly ready to sniff the top 10 in an NBA rotation. High-energy cant be taught, and he has it, but that doesnt translate to success.

    I am not trying to assume, just looking at it with realistic expectations of Zoran.

  • Animan

    I really would be interested in potentially getting Royce White. As of now, the Rockets have shown little interest in him when it comes to spotlight, focusing rather on Linsanity and Lambourghini. I feel we could get Royce White fairly easily and he fits the spots we need him in.

  • Greg

    Ehh, first round pick not far outside the lottery, and considering he has been producing in these summer-league games, the Rockets would need to be compensated with an array of draft picks. 6 foot 8 260 pounds forwards with 7 foot wingspans and passing ability cant be traded for cheaply, and are really rare…not making a comparison, but he has a Lebron type body. If it wasnt for his anxiety issues he would have easily been a lottery pick.

    I would love for White to be a Sun, but they just drafted him less then a month ago. Also, Not many rookies drafted past the lottery or late lottery have high expectations right away, i dont think their lack of interest of him in the spotlight indicates his lack of value to them. Ive never seen a team thrust a 16 overal pick into the spotlight.

    He would not be an easy get and def not a cheap one, the guy has loads of potential/talent with his versatility on the court

  • sun also rises

    sarver quotes = menstrual blood in the water for Phony Tony

  • steve

    First, I know it’s just two summer league games. I know.

    That said, my biggest fear of Marshall is his inability to score. I don’t see it as an “unwillingness” to score. I see it as inability. When someone is unwilling, but able, like Steve Nash, you still have to guard him. When someone is unable, like Rajon Rondo, you can basically play 5 on 4 and crush them in the 4th quarter.

    We’ll know more in time, but I hope Marshall starts showing the ability to score when he wants to. There will be times when it will be needed.

  • Greg

    Lets not say Rondo cant score. 44 points against the Heat, an unreal defense, says differently. If Garnett, Pierce, Allen didnt take majority of the shots Rondo would score way more. i dont think teams play 5 on 4 against a team that nearly made the finals. cmon Steve

  • bk

    Worst case scenario, we have 4 picks next year :)

  • http://none.com Russell

    Go get Courney Lee, sign him now!!! I can see us trading Lopez and Marshall mid season for a top 10 pick.

  • JZ

    So…why didn’t the Suns draft Moultrie and re-sign Aaron Brooks ans backup pg? I guess just have to give it time.

  • Greg

    Lopez and Marshall for a top 10 pick? What? We dont even know if we are gonna keep lopez. Do you realize how much teams value lottery picks, let alone top 10 picks? If Marshall doesnt succeed here, why would a team want to trade for an unathletic PG and an underachieving big man? Give up their chance to find an all-star in the top 10? thats extremely unrealistic

    I liked Moultrie alot, but we had no room for him really, unlike Beasley, Moultrie couldnt play the 3, hed be restricted to the 4/small ball 5, and we didnt really have a draft need for him. hes a nice prospect, i think he is going to be good

    brooks didnt fit in with the suns anymore, undersized scoring point guard that doesnt really distribute. he had a downyear after his 6th man of the year season and then he played in China. Not sure if the Suns felt he was their best option

  • Greg

    ^ especially because Telfair did an adequate job last season the second half of the year as the back up PG.

  • Ty-Sun

    I don’t see the Suns giving up on Marshall so quickly, Russell. At worst I can see Marshall becoming a quality backup PG in the NBA. I wonder if his problems in the summer league aren’t because he already knows that Morris is his best offensive option. He may be looking for him first and missing other opportunities because of that.

    And getting C. Lee shouldn’t be a MUST sign! He’s the best FA SG left but the Suns shouldn’t make him a stupid contract offer just because he’s the best option left. He just isn’t that good.

    JZ, If Brooks could pass like Marshall or Marshall could score like Brooks then you would have a damn fine PG! But Brooks is a shoot first PG (and not really a great shooter) who often make poor decisions when he actually does pass and Marshall is a passer but not a scorer. They both are what they are and I prefer Marshall. He still has time to develop as a scorer. Brooks has already had time in the NBA to develop as a passer but hasn’t done it. But if Marshall wants to ever be more than a career backup PG, he needs to turn into a gym rat and practice, practice, practice his mid-range jumper and 3′s. Even if he can only become a .250 3 point shooter then it will at least make opponents think about backing way off and daring him to take that shot.

  • http://none.com Russell

    @Greg we would be trading Marshall not because he isn’t succeding we would be trading him because A-he is stuck behind Dragic and will only get 13-15 minutes a night and B- he is a 20 year old PG that a lot of teams wanted to draft. it’s not like we are trading him 2 years later, we will be trading him 3 months in to the season. His #13 value is still in tact.

    Lopez will be brought back, there’s no way Portland or any other team gives up a 1st round pick for him in a S&T. Lopez will be forced to accept the QO.

  • http://none.com Russell

    Well there goes Lee, The Celtics agreed to a S&T with the Rockets to land Lee.

    I was very excited about the moves, adding Beasley, Dragic, Scola. But my excitement was more do in part to the Suns being aggressive in going after Gordon. Which made me believe that they would absolutely sign OJ Mayo.

    But now I see we will be a lottery team. Plan A-Gordon, failed. Plan B, OJ Mayo, Failed. Plan C, Courney Lee, failed.

    We don’t have an SG on this team and unless the Suns pull off a trade for Marcus Thorton or Tyreke Evans we are going to end up up in the lottery, most likely with 10-13 pick. We wont be bad enough to get a top 5 pick.

  • frenchysunsfan

    Don’t be so severe with Marshall, he’ll go on improving all summer long.
    One thing is sure, Lee won’t be a Sun next year, he’s just signed with the Celtics.

  • nashty

    T-Will and Rush or Redd? Brown no please…

  • Scott

    Coro thinks Telfair and Marshall can’t co-exist on the Suns:

    Dragic would start a full season for the first time and be backed by rookie Kendall Marshall, whose necessary development could mean Sebastian Telfair winds up elsewhere. Telfair grew on everyone last season, improving his play to be the Majerle Hustle Award winner. His practice intensity was good against veteran Ronnie Price but he will not tolerate being a third guard and would be hard on Marshall daily if he stays.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/sports/articles/2012/07/18/20120718phoenix-suns-rebuilding-roster-after-grant-hill-steve-nash-make-exits.html#ixzz216lyoTfk

  • joey

    i would trade lopez and a pick for tyreke evans. Sacramento has plenty of guards and not many big men. give them one of the first round lakers picks we got because we know it will be 25-30 and not that valuable. evans needs a fresh start and would us a guy who can play 1-3 and penetrate.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Evans has been going backwards every year since his rookie campaign. He was also stronger at the 1 then he has been at the 2 and we have plenty of point guards.

    I don’t mind if Telfair remains. I kind of see it as the ‘Jordan Effect’ on Pippen. Working every day, every year with the greatest ever rubbed off.

    If Dragon is in Marshall’s ear and if Gentry does allow Marshal and Telfair to do battle every practice, Telfair will kill him, at first.

    Perhaps from that, though, he’ll be able to add a few things that Telfair does do well because a lot of those things are things that Marshall doesn’t do right now.

  • Greg

    @Russell

    Yea he is stuck behind Goran, but Marshal and his game may take 2-3 yrs to develop into starting caliber. Goran will be a stud, he will have 1 year left on his deal, and if Marshall is ready and Goran is an 18-8 type PG then alot of teams would send us a nice package for him. (assuming if goran is due for a bigger pay day then his 4 for 30)

    If Marshall develops quickly they will find him minutes, more than 13-15. Goran can always slide to the two for stretches and Marshall could get extra minutes that way. Who knows what combos Gentry will try before he finds the 2 or 3 he really likes.

    That move would make no sense. Why did the Suns draft Marshall, with all the other talents available in the draft, and trade him and his affordable rookie deal. They agreed with Goran on the first day of free agency. he was in their plans to sign. So why would you draft a PG, and then sign another one days later, and then turn around and trade the one you drafted 3 months later? Both guards were obviously in their plans.

    My whole point about trading marshall is that him and lopez would not land a top 10 pick, NBA teams dont trade top 10 picks unless they are getting guaranteed, quality assets in return.

    Lopez may not be back. If Omer Asik signed a 3 year 25 million dollar offer, then Lopez, thought not better then Asik, will easily get an offer for more then 4 million, being a legit 7 footer. Atleast i think he would anyway.

    Only problem with lopez coming back is that you cant run a 5 big-man rotation. It doesnt matter if frye is hurt or not, eventually itll become 5 and its not always easy to moves guys in season. What if Lopez is struggling, or gets hurt? Well cant trade him. Teams probably wont want Frye coming off an injury to his shooting shoulder. so now you could be stuck with 5 big mean, Scola Morris Frye Gortat Lopez, and Beasley may steal occasional minutes at the 4 if he is struggling at the 3. I like Lopez, but bringing him back could cause problems later on.

  • Greg

    sorry, agreed with goran 4th day of free agency, 7 days after drafting marshall

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com Andrew M

    Resign Michael Redd on the cheap and see if he can regain his all star form when he was in Milwaukee. He played well coming off the bench last year. Kendall Marshall well probably have to compete with Telfair for the back point position. If he doesn’t improve they can try to trade him to get a young 2 guard. if not resign Reddd and use the money saved for to[p tier free agent next year.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Amazingly, Redd has options. I don’t know why he wouldn’t want to come back to Phoenix. It is obvious that the training staff here would continue to slowly heal him.

    But, money talks.

  • Carson

    “The top four or five or six guys out there in free agency with the exception of Deron Williams pretty much all wanted to come here.”

    Sarver, that is laughable. Roy Hibbert, Nic Batum, Jeremy Lin, Brook Lopez….the list goes on. Eric Gordon and Goran Dragic add up to two…out of the top 30.

  • steve

    @Carson

    First, to be fair, you have no idea whether or not the Suns had talks with any of those players.

    Second, outside of Hibbert, I wouldn’t rank anyone on that list higher than the top 3 FA’s who signed with the Suns.

    Third, why would the Suns need Roy Hibbert or Brook Lopez when they have the Polish Hammer? Shouldn’t their focus have been elsewhere (like the 2 or the 1, which were COMPLETELY void)?

    I would have loved to see Lin in Phoenix, but at the time the Suns were making moves, I don’t think anyone in the world thought Lin was going to be anything but a Knick for the next few years. I have no idea how NYK botched that so badly. No idea whatsover.

  • Greg

    Lin would pay for the luxury tax by himself and then some. They said when he started his amazing run that MSG’s stock went up like 600% percent or something absurd. No Lin=MSG stock down. Not a good business move, but maybe not the worst basketball move. Carmelo Amare Lin, if Lin would have been matched, would be 3 guys stuck in New York for a few years and that trio proved not to be the most successful combination considering all need to get their shots. I prefer Goran to Lin

  • Carson

    @steve

    Read Sarver’s quote. He says the TOP 6 free agents WANTED TO COME to PHX. That is, without a doubt, a reimagination of the truth. Objectively, he must be delusional or sugar coating. Probably both.

    The top 10ish 2012 FA’s, by consensus:
    Dwill, Gordon, KG, Duncan, Hibbert, Nash, McGee, Ryan Anderson, Batum, Gerald Wallace, Lopez, Terry, Lin.