It was an idea first discussed back in training camp, but only now has it materialized: Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall sharing the same backcourt.
“I think they have the size” to make it work, according to interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. “Kendall has the ability to get us settled and to just allow Goran to kind of run free and create kind of like (Manu) Ginobili.”
Hunter unveiled the pairing in the Suns’ most recent win, a 96-90 victory at Memphis, and then started the two on the floor together to begin the second half against Oklahoma City Sunday. “I wanted to try and get us kick started with Goran at the 2,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s decision Sunday didn’t pan out. It paid big dividends, however, at Memphis.
Trailing by five with 8:35 remaining, Hunter inserted Dragic into the game but rather than have him replace Marshall, Hunter kept the rookie on the floor and moved Dragic to Shannon Brown’s spot at shooting guard.
“It really freed Goran up to just score,” Hunter said of Dragic’s 15 points to spark the Suns comeback. “I think he’s a natural scorer.”
Dragic said he and Marshall need more practice time to get a better feel for one another. They’ve shared the court for a little more than 33 minutes.
He added he’s fine with playing both guard positions if that’s the coach’s decision.
“A few years ago, (teams) were looking at me differently,” Dragic said. “They give me more space on my shot. I was more time alone. But now it is different. Now everybody is so close that it’s a different situation. If I’m going to be open I’m going to shoot it.”
How much more Hunter pairs Dragic and Marshall in the backcourt will be determined on a game-by-game basis.
“If we struggle scoring a little bit,” Hunter said, “then we will venture into that and see if that can get us going.”