Oct. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Kendall Marshall (12) reacts on the court during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 104-93. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Was Kendall Marshalls Move to the D-League Good or Bad?

Recently former North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall was demoted to the D-League. News that surprised Carolina fans, but wasn’t really a shock to most NBA followers. Marshall was third on the Phoenix Suns depth chart and wasn’t getting the playing time he and a lot of people expected.

Marshall was drafted 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2012 NBA Draft. With the departure of Steve Nash to the Lakers, Marshall was considered a key piece in the Suns building for the future.

That’s why it was almost a shock when Marshall wasn’t receiving enough playing time early in the season.

Marshall sat behind Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair to start off the season. It never changed for Marshall as Suns coach Alvin Gentry continued to play his cards with Dragic and Telfair. This left some people wondering if the Suns made a mistake in drafting Marshall that high, or even if Marshall made a mistake by leaving North Carolina.

When Marshall decided to leave North Carolina as a sophomore, he left as one of the most talented point guards in the country. Marshall was an excellent passer, had great size for a guard at 6’5″,could lead an exploding fast break offense, played solid defense, but lacked in the scoring part of his game.

In the NBA, a scoring point guard is almost becoming a staple in most offenses.

Yet, there was still a thought Marshall could be a serviceable player for the Suns in the future. So why hasn’t it happened yet? Why was Marshall sent down to the D-League so fast?

Well, to answer those questions I believe it was because the Suns want Marshall to develop his game. With him sitting behind two players and hardly seeing any playing time, there was no way he could do that in the NBA. So instead of releasing the talented guard, the Suns sent him to the D-League.

After nearly a month in the D-League, the Suns recalled the point guard from Bakersfield. During his stint, Marshall averaged a league high 7.6 assists per game.

Marshall’s major flaw when he was sent down was his shooting. The Suns organization wanted Marshall to take this chance to work on his shot and develop a more solid offensive game. Marshall responded by averaging 9.6 points per game, but shot only 31 percent from the field.

Since his return a quick six days ago, Marshall’s playing time hasn’t changed with the Suns. But that was expected with Dragic and Telfair still on the team.

I believe Marshall can be a key player in the Suns rebuilding project going forward in the future. He just needs his chance to shine. When he will get it, no one really knows, but patience is a key for Marshall.

As the 2012-2013 NBA season continues on, the Suns could be sellers at the trade deadline which could open up a spot for Marshall back on the team. If the Suns move Dragic or Telfair, it could open up a spot for Marshall in the Suns rotation.


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Tags: Kendall Marshall NBA D-League North Carolina Tar Heels Phoenix Suns

  • http://twitter.com/HorranCameron Horran Cameron

    Marshall doesn’t fit w/the Suns. IMO, as an organization, they are still dealing with the departures of Amar’e and Steve Nash. Gortat is probably the only building block they have at the moment. Kendall Marshall would fit in nice w/the Lakers. All he has to do is what he does best – pass the ball. He would also fit w/Dallas. I still think that Kendall leaving was a smart choice. After the injury against Creighton, he had to look out for his best interests. What if he would have had another injury at Carolina this season, if he chose to stay? I hope he ends up the right team, because Phoenix is not the spot for him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kujo.daggs Kujo Broda Daggs

      You’re right all around. I’m a New Orleans fan and I’ve been pushing for a trade that would send Rivers to Phoenix in exchange for Marshall. The trade is perfect for everyone.
      N.O. drafted Rivers to be a PG but he hasn’t performed there. The trade would give Marshall more minutes as the primary backup PG. The Hornets would move current backup PG Brian Roberts to backup SG behind Gordon because he’s far more comfortable scoring anyway and does a great job of it. With all the scoring pieces New Orleans currently has, plus the inevitable trading of some roster fodder for a scoring SF, there would be virtually no pressure on Marshall to even attempt to score which would allow him time to develop a shot while he does his passing thing. His defense would also flourish under coach Monty Williams who preaches defense first.
      The Suns are interested in obtaining Rip Hamilton from Chicago. This deal, combined with that one, would give Phoenix the scoring they need immediately as well as a quick rebuilding piece in Rivers who could learn the ropes from Hamilton. It’s a genius win-win situation!