Marshall a good pick only if Suns improve talent around him
Well, with the Suns likely to struggle for the next few seasons, the theory is really going to be put to the test.
The Suns made the Tar Heel their first round pick, 13th overall, Thursday, and the selection was not met without some question marks. Sure, you're not likely to get a consensus cheer for anyone you take that late in the lottery, but going with a guy who is not much of an athlete, defender or scorer is a little puzzling.
Sure, Marshall is an excellent passer -- he averaged 9.8 assists per game as a sophomore -- and there is little doubt he'll be a good locker room presence and leader, which is certainly a positive. He may be asked to backup two-time MVP Steve Nash or, perhaps, replace him, and his ability to dish the ball could rival that of the Suns legend.
Unfortunately for the Suns, though, they also need scoring, defense, rebounding and athleticism -- traits Marshall, for all the good he brings, does not possess.
Think about it: what good is a great passer if his teammates cannot put the ball in the basket, and how effective can a point guard be if he is not a threat to score the ball himself? Steve Nash forces defenses to respect his shot, and thus they leave teammates open.
Marshall, who made 47 percent of his shots as a sophomore, is not a scorer. He knows that, and he knows he has to improve. He thinks he will.
"Obviously now, there's no school to get in the way," Marshall said. "This is my profession, this is my job. I have no choice but to get better, so I'm not too worried about it."
He might very well do just that, but it will all be moot if the talent around him doesn't get better, and while Marshall may ultimately be a solid player in the NBA, this pick will only be a success if the Suns surround him with enough talent to take advantage of his skills and mask his deficiencies.
You know, just as they did with Nash all those years.
And while Blanks maintains this pick has nothing to do with Nash's impending free agency -- that whether he stays or goes, Marshall was the guy -- this pick, and the team's future, are certainly tied to what the Suns accomplish over the rest of the summer.
The Suns have admitted they lack a "go-to" scorer, someone who they can pencil into the lineup and expect to get 20 points out of every night. While there is no guarantee they would have found that guy at 13 -- in fact, chances are they wouldn't -- they certainly don't have him in Marshall.
The Suns' newest player is a pass-first point guard, part of a dying breed of floor generals who would rather dish the rock than put in in the bucket. The game has been taken over by scorers, as they've become far more valuable than players who can set them up.
Blanks said the Suns took Marshall because of his brains and ability to make those around him better.
"He is in perfect alignment with what we want to be about as people and as an organization," he said.
That sounds nice, but it will all be for naught if the people and organization around him don't improve.
- Alvin Gentry, former Suns head coach - Tuesday May 14Gentry talks to Doug & Wolf about the NBA Playoffs, the Suns coaching search and his future
- Denise McDonough, Ryan McDonough's mom - Friday May 10Mrs. McDonough talks to Doug & Wolf about raising the new Suns GM
- Melinda Dudley, Jared Dudley's mom - Friday May 10Mrs. Dudley tells Doug & Wolf what it was like raising the Suns fan favorite
- Tom Chambers, Suns legend - Friday May 10Chambers tells Doug & Wolf who he'd like to see hired as the new head coach of the Suns
- Ryan McDonough, Suns general manager - Thursday May 9McDonough talks to Doug & Wolf about what he's looking for in a new head coach