For the first time since the Suns got demolished by the Pistons, Kendall Marshall got double figure minutes. Marshall played the role of back-up point guard last night, a role which has been played by Telfair all season long. Marshall played 15 minutes last night in the loss to the Mavericks and he recorded six points, and a steal while knocking down two 3-pointers in the Suns loss.
As one of the Dallas Mavericks commentator made reference to Marshall’s shoes saying “He probably didn’t expect to play tonight with those shoes on.” It’s a great speculation, after all it caught just about all of Planet Orange off-guard.
Lindsey Hunter was the head of player development prior to the firing of former Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. After Hunter’s promotion, there were a lot speculation that players such as Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris and Michael Beasley would see more playing time, and that’s proven to be true.
In the four games since Hunter took over, Morris has played 20+ minutes in four straight games; Morris only saw those kind of minutes in his 11 games as a starter. Morris only had a streak of two games of 20+ minutes coming off the bench under Alvin Gentry. Michael Beasley has also played 20+ minutes in the last four games since Hunter took over; Beasley as a bench player, had only a two-game streak of 20+ minutes played under Gentry.
It’s not surprising that all these young guns are seeing more minutes, after all Hunter has been the one who’s worked with them all season long and these guys are responding to him. Marshall played a good game last night with the exception of an air-ball three. Beasley has certainly responded well to Hunter as he’s scored in double figures in three of the last four games.
Telfair has had a decent year with the Suns, and his defensive intensity has without a doubt at times changed the atmosphere of the game. At this point Hunter and the Suns organization are pretty much giving all the young players an audition to see what they can do. Marshall got limited opportunities under Gentry but in his two games that he’s played double figure minutes, he’s looked impressive; I especially loved that nifty little bounce pass he gave to Morris(being a point guard myself) last night on the fast break.
Telfair has been a hot name on the trade circuit and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, Hunter may be playing Marshall to see if Marshall is able to contribute quality minutes before the Suns trade away Telfair. With the NBA trade deadline only a little more than three weeks away, expect the Suns to be very active.