For the second straight season, the Phoenix Suns owned the
13th pick in the NBA Draft.
But unlike last season when they chose forward Markieff
Morris out of Kansas, the Suns picked a guard —
specifically point guard Kendall Marshall from the
University of North Carolina.
Regardless of what happens with Steve Nash in free agency,
Marshall is viewed as the heir apparent to the two-time
MVP at the point guard position.
So, was it a good pick? Only time will tell. But of
course, that doesn’t stop the national pundits from
sharing their opinion of the selection.
Here’s what the experts said about the Suns’ pick of
Mike Huguenin – Yahoo! Sports
The Suns could lose PG Steve Nash, and Marshall is the
best point man in this draft. He is an incredibly gifted
passer and ran an up-tempo offense at UNC. He began
looking for his shot more late in the season, but he will
never be a big scorer. He should annually be among the NBA
leaders in assists.
Ford – ESPN (Insider content)
Grade: C I think Marshall will be a solid NBA player. He
might be the best passer in the draft, but his lack of
lateral quickness may limit him to role player duty in the
pros. If Steve Nash stays, he’ll be a nice backup. If he
leaves, the Suns will still need to find a starting point
guard on the free agent market.
Sam Amick – Sports
Free-agent point guard Steve Nash made it clear recently
that he’s not coming back to Phoenix unless significant
improvements are made. Regardless of Nash’s status,
Marshall could be groomed as the point guard of the
future, a terrific passer who will spoon-feed the likes of
Jared Dudley and Channing Frye on the wings. Marshall
didn’t score much at North Carolina, but here’s how he
explained it at the draft combine: “[T]here’s a reason I
didn’t shoot the ball a lot. There are other guys in my
team that specialize in that area. But I feel like when my
number was called, and when I needed to score, I did so.”
Grade: B+ Marshall was able to operate the point guard
at North Carolina in beautiful fashion. He understands how
to play the position at such an advanced level, but
does not have the talent relative to the NBA that North
Carolina has compared to the rest of college basketball.
Steve Nash stays, then Marshall will be able to ease into
the position. Such a scenario would certainly help
Marshall’s transition to the NBA. If Nash leaves and
goes into full rebuilding mode, it will be a much more
Mike DeCourcy –
Marshall has excellent size for a point guard and is a
good passer, but he’s not a Bird-Penny-Magic sort of
inventor. His greatest gift in the passing department is
ability to see ahead in transition and complete long
on the break. It’s nice to watch, but its practical
applications are limited.
Much more important is Marshall’s absence of footspeed,
inability to develop a means to overcome this as a
his lack of pace to blow past opposing defenders with the
ball. Oh, and he’s not a great shooter, either. No matter
how desperate the Suns may be for a starting point guard,
it’s hard to see Marshall as the answer.