December 18, 2012: Lindsey Hunter assesses the progress made by the 13th overall pick
Suns rookie point guard Kendall Marshall is nearing the end of his assignment with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. He’ll play two more games (Wednesday, Thursday) before re-joining the Suns this weekend in Portland.
Thus far, in seven games, Marshall is averaging 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 32.1 minutes.
Suns player development coordinator Lindsey Hunter joined Marshall for the first few games.
Hunter has since returned to Phoenix, allowing us the chance to discuss Marshall’s progress.
Here is part of that conversation:
“Overall, he’s made some pretty good progress,” Hunter said. “You can see the things that you need to work on, clearly, when you’re put in pressure situations and game situations, which is the biggest reason that he’s there is just to be put kind of in the pressure cooker and kind of figure out points of emphasis of what you need to work on.
“I’m really pleased with his progress. I’m going to continue to push him out of his comfort zone. He’s such a bright, smart kid on the court. He can figure out how to stay comfortable so the objective is to get him out of that and to push himself to do different things on the floor that he probably has never done in certain situations.
“It’s working out great for him. He’ll come away with a lot more than he would have just staying here not getting to play. This is much better for him.”
Marshall’s assists per game is fourth-best in the D-League. He did go through a three-game stretch in which he had more turnovers (15) than assists (14). However, since then he’s handed out a combined 18 assists with only four turnovers in his last two games.
“A lot of his turnovers aren’t his fault. The kid is such an amazing passer and I think it catches a lot of people off guard so some of his turnovers are actually passes that hit people and they’re not ready or thought they had it. It’s amazing to watch so that really doesn’t concern me at all.
“Most of your elite playmakers are high turnover guys,” Hunter said before citing Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Mark Jackson as examples. “All those guys because they take risks. They take bigger risks making a pass. For Kendall the point of emphasis with him is he recognizes right away when a teammate has a shot, that’s second nature. But when he has a shot, he doesn’t recognize it. Making the transition from college to being a pro is recognizing all situations and doing what the game tells you to do. If the game tells you to take the 10-foot jumper, then you have to. If you don’t, then as an offensive unit, we’re messed up. Those are the small things that we’re really kind of pushing him to get and to understand.”
Marshall has struggled with his shooting: 32.9 percent from the field (26-of-79), including 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from three-point range. He has yet to have a game where he hits 40 percent of his shots.
“It’s just repetition,” Hunter said. “There’s some things this summer we’ll do with him, but for the most part it’s just repetition. (His) shot’s not broken It would be different if he came in here and he had a three-piece shot but he doesn’t. It’s just minor things that he’ll have to keep working on. He’ll get better at it.”