displayed the best parts of his game in a 91-89 Las Vegas Summer League victory on Monday, hitting two huge three-pointers and making the right passes to mount a 24-point comeback. The success could make him a viable option for the Suns behind and .
That, or the success makes him a trade chip that another team wants, or at the least, would be willing to take back. Several NBA executives in Las Vegas told NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper that Marshall is on the trading block.
“They’re trying to attach him to pretty much any deal that comes up,” a league executive told Howard-Cooper. “If you want to talk about any of their players, the (Suns) include him. He’s basically the price of admission to any trade right now.”
This isn’t surprising news. If anything, it asserts that Phoenix and general manager Ryan McDonough are still working tirelessly to make some moves this offseason. Marshall could simply be a throw-in to a deal involving a larger contract.
And considering the circumstance it all adds up. I’ve been higher on Marshall than most people because he’s a smart basketball player and has a passing ability that’s rare. His shot, as terrible as it is mechanically, at least has dropped because Marshall is confident. And yeah, he would be entering his senior season at North Carolina. So the drafting of Marshall 13th overall in 2012 is not yet a complete failure.
“My game is much more advanced this time around,” Marshall told Dave Dulberg before the Suns left for Las Vegas. “Last year in Summer League, I was still lost. I was just kind of out there moving around, not really leading. One of better qualities is leadership, and I feel like I’ve done a much better job with that the last couple days and plan to do the same when we’re in Las Vegas.”
But does Marshall even fit into the system?
Forget that Dragic and Bledsoe are really both point guards. Marshall could see a decent number of minutes on the court this upcoming season because both Dragic and Bledsoe can play at shooting guard — and that’s not to mention the importance of depth if there are injuries. Paul Coro noticed that Marshall went to Twitter to voice his displeasure about chatter that resembled a quote coach Jeff Hornacek gave to ArizonaSports.com.
Hornacek told arizonasports.com that Marshall puts pressure on a defense with pick-and-rolls and drags out of transition but “he’s not maybe the type of guy that is going to fly it down the court and penetrate and put pressure on a defense that way.” Marshall, always an active tweeter with nearly 150,000 followers, tweeted “Apparently I don’t like to fastbreak” and “Apparently I didn’t got to Carolina, team that fast breaks more than any team in the world”
Marshall deleted the tweets.
No matter how much the open court helps Marshall’s game because of his vision, he’s at a major disadvantage in the NBA because of his below-average athleticism. In college, he had the horses to outrun teams with lesser athleticism. In college, the pass advances the ball a lot easier than in does in the NBA.
And in the NBA, it’s the ball handler who, more than in NCAA hoops, must be able to push the tempo to create fastbreak opportunities. That’s not Marshall’s skill.
It is a skill of two of McDonough’s acquisitions — Bledsoe and Archie Goodwin — and Dragic. So while he may not be the odd man out in terms of the three best point guards on the roster, he might already be considered just that in the eyes of the new front office and coaching staff.