Hunter on rookie Marshall: ‘He’s going to be a great floor leader’

Feb 22, 2013, 5:40 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm

The Phoenix Suns traded Sebastian Telfair to the Toronto Raptors because there wasn’t much playing time for the veteran point guard.

And there wasn’t much playing time for the veteran point guard because of the emergence of rookie Kendall Marshall.

Taken with the 15th pick in the 2012 draft, Marshall has played double-digit minutes in nine of the team’s last 11 games, posting averages of 3.3 points and 2.3 assists per game.

Those numbers are not exactly eye-popping, but it’s a belief in Marshall’s future that led to the team ensuring there will be playing time for former North Carolina Tar Heel right now.

“He’s really a bright kid, probably too bright for his own good sometimes,” Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter said as part of the Suns Midseason Report show Thursday. “He absorbs everything, he learns really fast.

“We’ve thrown a lot at him lately, given him a lot of responsibility.”

Hunter said the team has done that because they think Marshall can handle things.

“He’s going to be a great floor leader; he knows the game in and out,” Hunter added. “And he possesses some of the things that you don’t see from young players today, and that’s ability to know what’s going on ahead of time. That’s a phenomenal asset that he has.”

Hunter likened that quality to one Steve Nash and Jason Kidd share, and said the rookie’s emergence has allowed him to shift Goran Dragic to the shooting guard spot when the situation calls for a change.

“It frees up Goran a lot to just create and to attack, and right now we don’t have that two guard who can just attack, so I think moving Goran over frees him up to be that,” he said. “Just gives him a different a different look and gives the other team a different look also.”

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