PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns got their man.
North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall, who came to Phoenix
for two separate visits, was the Suns’ pick with the 13th pick in
Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
And they couldn’t be happier about it.
“We are ecstatic, as happy as we were last year,” Blanks announced
to the gathered media at US Airways Center Thursday night.
“Looking at our board, and who was there with the 13th pick, that
was the guy that we were targeting all along.”
Blanks was also quick to warn this pick wasn’t made because Steve
Nash is a free agent that could be wearing another uniform in the
next couple of days.
“Kendall Marshall represents where we are as an organization,”
Blanks said. “Don’t read too far into this with free agency.”
The free agency period begins at midnight EST Sunday and all eyes
(at least all eyes in Phoenix) will be focused on where Nash decides
to play basketball for the next few seasons. If
it’s Phoenix, Nash could serve as a mentor for Marshall. If it’s
elsewhere, Marshall could be handed the reins of the Suns’ offense
Either way, Blanks sounds comfortable with Marshall’s place on the
Suns’ roster and in the community.
“He represents everything we want to about as a player and a
person. Most importantly, if you look into his background, in his
history, he’s a winner,” Blanks said.
Marshall did a whole lot of winning at North Carolina. In two
seasons with the point guard at the controls of the offense in
Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels went 61-14. UNC also advanced to the
Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament each season.
Blanks intimated that there are similarities between the veteran
Nash and the rookie Marshall — namely their heady natures.
“We did not draft Kendall for his athleticism, and Kendall knows
that,” he said. “We got him for his brain, his ability to make people
better, who he is off the court, for our locker room.
“He is in perfect alignment with what we want to be about as people
and as an organization.”