While the Phoenix Suns’ decision to bench starting point guard Goran Dragic for the team’s last two games against the Jazz and Kings seemed a bit suspicious given its timing, radio play-by-play guy Al McCoy doesn’t believe the move was made for tanking purposes.
“Although I’m certainly not involved in closed door meetings, the front office and the coaches certainly want to see Kendall Marshall, to see what he can do when he starts the game and plays 30-plus minutes,” McCoy told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Friday. “I can’t say anything surprises me this season that happens with the Suns.”
Without Dragic the past two games, the Suns unsurprisingly dropped both contests by double-digits. But despite the team’s results in the back-to-back situation, Marshall filled in admirably as a starter.
Against the Jazz Wednesday night, the former No. 13 overall pick had 13 assists and held Utah guard Mo Williams to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. In Thursday night’s 14-point loss to the Kings, Marshall wasn’t highly effective at the defensive end against Isaiah Thomas (23 points and eight assists), but he became the first Suns rookie since Negele Knight (1991) to have back-to-back 10-assist performances.
“I thought he played better than many of us anticipated,” said McCoy. “His better game was probably in Utah…He took a couple nice drives to the basket that were impressive and played under control.
“I think he probably played his best basketball in those two games. It’s probably because he got 30-plus minutes of time on the floor.”
In his first NBA season, Marshall has averaged 2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 14.0 minutes per game.