Kendall Marshall was never known for his scoring, but for being the best passer in all of college basketball which ultimately propelled him to become the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
The Phoenix Suns drafted Marshall to serve as more or less a security blanket just in case Steve Nash decided not to return and should he return Marshall would nearly be the perfect pupil.
Marshall’s scoring was very limited when he played in college at North Carolina. The North Carolina Tar Heels had an extremely loaded team, along with Marshall, John Henson, and Harrison Barnes were all lottery picks; had Marshall’s teammate James McCadoo decided to enter the draft he would’ve been a lottery pick as well.
Marshall wasn’t brought to the valley of the Suns to score 25 points a game rather he was brought in to assist his teammates to score 25 points a game. Despite that being the case, it’s still an absolute must Marshall find a way to become an offensive threat outside of passing on the NBA level. In his first two preseason games in the NBA Marshall has only 1 basket and it came late during the game against Kings during garbage time.
Marshall’s scoring ability is what made him a question mark during the draft. At one point he was projected to be as high as the 10th overall pick but on draft night he was projected by most simulated drafts as a pick in the late teens or early twenties.
Marshall’s scoring struggles seems to be an issue throughout the first couple preseason games. Marshall is seeing plenty of action playing about 22 minutes a game, but he seems to have trouble scoring the basketball. So what’s the problem? It begins with his jump shooting. Despite improvements, his jump shooting is still no better than sub-par The absence of a jump shot in his offensive arsenal allows defenders to sag off on him which prevents him from getting to the basket.
Another problem is his ability to penetrate the paint. What made Marshall such an impact player in college was his ability to drive and dish but if you can’t drive, there’s no dish. It’s tough to pin point the reason behind his inability to get into the paint, he certainly has the ball skills to get in the paint, and his size & strength isn’t an issue neither. Which pretty much comes down to his lack of aggressiveness.
Marshall will need to step it up. The way it seems at the moment, Marshall is playing like a non-aggressive Ricky Rubio; much like Marshall, Rubio can’t shoot nor finish at the rim but he’s still an effective player. The confidence Marshall brought with him on to the court with North Carolina seems to be missing, Marshall has to pick up his play at the point otherwise he may find himself being the 3rd string point guard behind Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair.
All Suns fans as well as myself are hoping right now that the Kendall Marshall isn’t going to be Earl Clark Fiasco 2.0. The 2012 NBA draft was regarded as the best since the 2003 draft which included LeBron James, Carmleo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
It’s already established that the Suns reached to take Kendall Marshall. He was not the best player available at the 13th pick and he certainly wasn’t the player with the most potential. The Suns took Kendall Marshall using the concept they used back in 1996 when the drafted Steve Nash with the 15th overall pick. That concept being drafting for needs or the future as oppose to drafting for talent or upside.
How that will workout is still in question, but the Suns front office are saying their prayers that it does. To swing and miss with a lottery pick in one of the best draft in years will be a tough one to swallow.