Notes: Kendall Marshall on the Suns' chopping block

It’s official. Kendall Marshall is on the chopping block.

Paul Coro reported from Phoenix Suns practice that the second-year point guard is fighting Ish Smith for his job.

Marshall didn’t play in the Suns’ final two preseason games. Smith played in a brief backup role to starting point guard Eric Bledsoe Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder but he also sat out in the preseason finale at Denver.

That bit of news means the Suns could take a few days to sort out the final cuts.

Markieff Morris’ suspension-resulting elbow

An NBA review of Markieff Morris’ elbow to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka’s face has led to a one-game suspension for the Phoenix Suns forward. A video replay, which can be viewed here, shows Morris’ elbow going high while he fought for positioning on a free throw.

As reported following the game, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek hadn’t seen the play carefully enough to judge his third-year forward, but he did express an opinion about the lowest dash on the free throw box being too far underneath the basket.

“I think the most of us think, the size of these guys, it’s a disadvantage to being in that bottom spot,” Hornacek said. “Any miss is going to bounce where that second guy actually has the advantage. So we’re telling those guys, ‘You got to box out. You got to go into those guys.’ They got to hit them hard to get them away from that spot. Until they move that line up, you’re going to get a lot of that.”

It didn’t help that Morris had struggled in the first half of the Tuesday night game. He grabbed no rebounds but seemed set on righting the ship coming out of the third quarter gates. Morris grabbed five rebounds before making a play that, while obviously against the rules — the NBA has been very strict about above-the-shoulder hits — didn’t appear to be intentional.

Sports Illustrated asks a scout to scout the Suns

In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane character rubs his Oakland A scouts the wrong way because his analytics don’t match their eye tests. Sports Illustrated asked a rival scout to write up a preview of the Suns, and like the movie there are some obvious points, some interesting thoughts and also some clues that, well, numbers are important to note.

The obvious — There’s a lot of stuff in there that we know. Archie Goodwin is thin, the Dragic-Bledsoe pairing is intriguing but might work, and we don’t know if Bledsoe is a point guard yet.

The interesting thoughts — The anonymous scout has an opinion of Marcin Gortat that many don’t.

Marcin Gortat is their starting center, but I view him as a backup. Against a legit center, he is going to struggle. He has a couple of moves on the block and he can run the floor. He can finish off pick-and-rolls. He is more an offensive center who puts up good numbers on a bad team.

Additionally, it’s clear the Lance Blanks era wasn’t going well when the reason he drafted Markieff Morris is the same reason Markieff Morris is not much more than an inefficient shooter.

In the frontcourt, the Morris brothers, Marcus and Markieff, are just space-the-floor power forwards. Markieff is a better rebounder. Neither one is going to make an impact defensively.

The uneducated — The scout describes Kendall Marshall’s game well, but he writes one less-than-accurate bit.

Kendall Marshall was a first-round pick in 2012, under a different general manager, and he barely played as a rookie.

For the record, Marshall played 702 minutes. New Suns forward Miles Plumlee, in contrast, played 55 minutes all of his rookie year. But to the scout’s point, Marshall did only earn 14 trips to the foul stripe in those 702 minutes, which alludes to his inability to create off the dribble. And yeah, we know he can’t shoot.

ESPN’s 5-on-5 preview of the Suns

Over at the mothership, we went five-on-five to discuss the Suns season. I picked the Suns to win somewhere around 25 games, which actually felt more optimistic than the rest of the participants’ picks.

I think the most interesting part was the request that we all make a bold prediction. The other contributors guessed that Eric Bledsoe would average more than three steals per game, the Suns would be fun to watch (So. There’s. That.) and Marcin Gortat would either be traded or the Suns would wish they had traded him. Mine, which is much more minor but also sort of bold (I think):

Boldness is relative in Phoenix. One Phoenix player from the past two draft classes will make the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge, and it won’t be either of the team’s lottery picks. Either Archie Goodwin or Miles Plumlee gets invited rather than Alex Len or Kendall Marshall.

And 1

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived former Suns point guard Diante Garrett on Friday.

  • DBreezy

    I know I keep harping on the idea of a buyout for Marshall, but it really does seem like that’s what the team wants to do here but Kendall either isn’t interested or isn’t interested at a number the Suns will accept. 52 mins in the preseason, conspicuous DNP’s, and now Horny publicly telling Coro something he didn’t need to with time still left on the clock. It really seems like hint, hint, hint Kendall you aren’t wanted here so take the deal and move on. What is he going to prove in practice to Horny and McD that he hasn’t in SL, OTA’s, camp, and preseason? It’s a whole different deal for Ish Smith to want to stick after bouncing around for 3 years, but Kendall should want to go somewhere that he can prove himself. Is he just that stubborn or does he not believe in himself as much as he acts and wants to maximize those $$$ while he can?

  • Ty-Sun

    Perhaps the Suns have talked about a buyout with him but maybe his ego won’t let him accept that idea. Or perhaps he really knows that if he’s let go by the Suns that his NBA “career” might actually be over.

  • Foreveris2long

    Ty, I think it is the latter,i.e., his NBA career might actually be over. He is absolutely terrible.

  • DBreezy

    Looks like it won’t matter. Marc Stein reporting and Coro too that Gortat, Marshall and Brown to the Wiz for Okafor and a pick. That leaves only Frye, Morii, and Goran from last year’s team. Wow!

  • Scott

    Y’know … I realize the sentiment here is that Smith will get the job. But we’re talking about a struggle between a 25 year old with a PER of 8.51 (Smith) and a 22 year old with a PER of 7.85 (Marshall). Neither player has any trade value, and presumably only Marshall has any potential for improvement.

    So I’m going to assume that despite the drama, the Suns will go with Marshall. But they won’t extend him. So far as I can see, they can’t save any money by taking any other course, and there’s really no advantage to signing Ish … unless Marshall is being a poison in the locker room, which I suppose is possible.

    However, if Marshall is being a poison in the locker room, they can send him to the D-League to get him out of their hair. So I don’t see any particular advantage in having Smith.

  • DBreezy

    Well you’ll be seeing more of him Scott.

  • BCrayZ

    Clippers set Louis free.

    MUST reunite “that killer bench unit.” Let’s go SUNS!!!!