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.