With Kendall Marshall’s recent move down to the D-League, most Suns fans are wondering if Marshall is still the future at point guard, or is being demoted just what the rookie needed to get on track.
The former UNC Tar Heel began play in the D-League a week ago and in his debut he scored 21 points on 7-of-18 shooing with 8 assists in just over 31 minutes of action. Marshall also finished his Bakersfield Jam debut 6-of-8 from the free-throw line and committed just two turnovers.
The game really showed the plan Phoenix has with Marshall in the D-League, trying to get him acclimated to playing more minutes to stay in shape and developing a confident jump-shot. Reports are that Marshall will be accompanied by the Suns director of player development Lindsay Hunter. Perhaps this shows just how committed Phoenix is as an organization to Kendall Marshall’s future as the franchises point guard.
After a positive offensive performance in game one of his stay in the D-League Monday December 4th, Kendall Marshall came back down to what the reality of his scoring ability currently is now averaging under 11 points in four games. Marshall must work on his overall shooting percentage and the points will follow. He is shooting just 33% while averaging over 30 minutes a game in his first four D-League games.
For the pass-first point guard to crack the Phoenix roster sooner than later, he will have to show consistency on the defensive end, as well as being able to hit open shots when teams play off of him and jump passing lanes forcing him to shoot.
Currently Phoenix is last in their Division with a 7-14 record and entering Sunday were on a six-game losing streak. The starting point guard for the Suns is Goran Dragic who is averaging 32 minutes and 15 points-per-game. Dragic has been a solid player for Phoenix and has 2 more years left on his contract with a player-option for year three. At 7.5 million a year, Dragic’s contract means Kendall Marshall has a little time before the Suns anticipate turning over the franchise to him.
Sebastian Telfair is the backup point guard and is averaging just 5.8 points and 2.5 assists in 17.8 minutes per game. With a stat line like that it seems to be just a matter of time before the former Tar Heel Marshall works his way into the minutes Telfair currently gets.
The way it has been made to look now shows that Kendall Marshall was just sent down to the D-League to work on some things and get back in shape. Being demoted can seem bad in most cases but for Marshall here, it may turn out to be the positive push he needed. As of now all signs still point to Kendall Marshall still being the point guard of the future in Phoenix, even if it means not for a year or two.
With that said, I could see Marshall back on the Suns NBA roster before seasons end as the backup point guard. If Marshall can just show a little consistency making open shots and playing hard on defense, there will be no reason why a player with his ability, (to find teammates and lead a fast break) should be on the bench.