The picks are in. The Phoenix Suns made their selection and take North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. The team looks to him to hopefully become the heir apparent to Steve Nash after he retires or even if he leaves this offseason in free agency. As with most draft picks, there is a mixed reaction to the player. Here is no exception.
Several of the writers here at SB Nation Arizona chimed in and gave the pick of Marshall a grade, reacting to the pick. The grades are wide ranging, as you can guess. Read on for more!
Marshall is the best they could have done with what there was left. All of the best scoring two guards were gone and the last thing Phoenix needed to do was draft another big man with limited skills. The Suns needed a point guard, they like what Marshall brings to the table with the offense they like to run, he loves to distribute the ball and he will fit in the locker room. Are the questions about his defense and his ability to shoot? Yes. But in the end, if the Suns want to build a championship team, they won't do it with their point guard being their best player. Marshall will be the perfect complement to other scoring pieces around him. That is the next step for the Suns.
Personally, I love the pick. Many have compared him to Steve Nash, but I do not exactly see that. Yes, he is a very good passer, much like Nash, but does not have near the shooting ability. What I really like about it is if the Suns can keep Nash, Marshall can then come off the bench and keep the offense moving. That is not something the team has been able to get out of their backup point guard in, well, ever. Any player can learn to shoot and if Marshall can improve his defense, he could be a very solid choice for the Suns.
I don't like the pick. We all know Marshall can pass the ball, but in the NBA if you aren't a threat to score, teams will sag of and clog the passing lanes and stay home with the shooters and cutters. Unless Marshall can make huge strides with his shot, I worry about his future...a lot. I've seen him compared to Andre Miller who also isn't a shooter, but Miller is more athletic, can defend, drive and finish.
A solid move for the Suns at 13 to pick up Kendall Marshall to get some insurance in case Nash decides to leave town. If Nash does decide to stay, the mentoring Marshall will receive playing behind Nash will prove to be invaluable. Marshall is a pass first point guard, and will be able to create opportunities for the players around him. His shot still needs to develop a bit, but once he gets that down he could develop into a Nash-type player himself.
The Suns desperately needed a scorer and it was thoroughly disappointing to see all of the top options come off the board before they went up to pick. It's likely Nash is gone this summer, so the best passer in the draft is a decent consolation prize.
I was holding out hope for one of the Jones', but Marshall is a solid player to settle on. Great passer, hustles, can probably develop some semblance of a shooting stroke. If Steve Nash leaves, I'd be comfortable with having Marshall run point, which is more than I could say about anyone else on the Suns' roster. But honestly, at this point, anything more than complete incompetence from the front office is a nice surprise, so as long as we avoided any of the annual big oafs, I'd be happy. Now let's bottom out and get away from the No. 12 to No. 16 draft pick range, please.
With what was left on the board when this pick rolled around, it's nearly impossible not to like this pick. The Suns need someone who can distribute the ball in the post-Nash era and they just found their man in Marshall. No, I don't think he's going to be in the top three in assists every year like some folks are projecting but I do feel he can be somewhere in between Jose Calderon and the non-Trailblazer version of Raymond Felton which certainly isn't a bad thing.
The only real reason I didn't give this selection the full A grade is because it wasn't Jeremy Lamb. I realize I'm probably acting like a spoiled child considering he wasn't available with the Rockets scooped him up a pick earlier but I do consider Lamb to be the better asset. I just don't know if Marshall is a championship caliber starting point guard while I do believe that Lamb is capable of being a low-key, third option scoring threat on an elite team (a la James Harden). At the end of the day though, it's hard for anyone to complain here. Marshall should have a long, successful NBA career as long as you put weapons around him.
The Suns took the best player available, it seems, according to their scouting. Kendall Marshall is a safe pick, nothing flashy. You're just not going to get a cream-of-the crop guy at No. 13, and at least the Suns insulated themselves by getting a good passer in case Steve Nash leaves via free agency.
If Marshall is able to provide what Markieff Morris did for the Suns last season in terms of rookie production, consider it a small success. It will have to be a different kind of production though, in the form of quality minutes off the bench, good passing decisions and good defense. Ideally, Nash stays and helps groom the kid.
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