Published on January 28th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Kendall Marshall
Name: Kendall Marshall
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Physicals: 6′ 4″, 180 lbs, 20 years old
College: North Carolina
NBA Position: Point Guard
Current Stats: 5.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 9.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 43% FG, 64% FT, 25.7% 3P
It’s easy to find faults in the potential of Kendall Marshall. He’s not a good scorer, he’s certainly not at an NBA level athletically, and his shooting stroke is very inconsistent.
What he is, however, is college basketball’s best pure point guard, and one of the smartest players in the potential draft class of 2012.
Marshall looks a lot like a poor man’s Ricky Rubio, mainly without the potential stardom. Like Rubio, Marshall is a fantastic point guard with great court vision and excellent passing skills. He’s unselfish, almost to a fault, and is thriving on a team with a ton of talent that benifits from spacing the floor.
He is shooting just 43% from the field, and just 25% from three-point territory while averaging just 5.9 points. To his credit, he isn’t being asked to score for North Carolina, as they have tons of weapons (Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson) and Marshall fits in fantastically as a guy who just runs the offense.
He’s fantastic at his job, running the NCAA’s best offense while averaging an astounding 9.5 assists per contest. His feel for the game is incredible as he’s easily got the best basketball IQ of any prospect this season.
He certainly isn’t going to wow you with speed or athleticism. He’s a decent sized point guard, standing 6’3” and weighing at 180 lbs. He’s quick enough to keep most college defenders honest, and his defense is strong enough that he can guard nearly all his opponents at North Carolina. But it’ll become a bigger problem in the pros when he ends up facing Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook.
While he’ll be drafted because of his floor general talents, he really needs to continue working on his shooting. If he doesn’t, teams won’t have to worry about him scoring and can focus on keeping him from running the floor. If he can get a consistent jumper, then he’ll become a much much better dual threat.
He may be an unorthadox player and it’s hard to gauge where he’ll end up should he enter the draft, but his floor vision will certainly find a place for him in the NBA.
Draft Watch: Scouts are split as to Marshall’s complete potential, but everyone agrees he won’t ever be a top-tier point guard. His willingness to pass and his basketball IQ are top-tier, but without a consistent jumper or an explosive athleticism—one of the two, at least.
Ricky Rubio tearing up the NBA is a huge benefit to Marshall. While Rubio’s athleticism isn’t as low as Marshall’s is, Rubio is proving that a player without consistent scoring abilities can flourish if he has an excellent passing game. If I was Kendall Marshall, I’d send a pretty big thank you note to Rubio ASAP.
Marshall shouldn’t even really hesitate to enter the 2012 draft for two reasons—one, his best teammates (Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson) are all almost certainly going into the draft this year and he’d be left with a very young team to run. And two, there are no point guards in this draft. Despite his serious weaknesses, he’s arguably one—if not the—best point guards in this draft.
The immediate NBA fit for Marshall would be New York, where his passing skills combined with the Knicks current roster would be a dream come true for coach Mike D’Antoni. He may not be as good a shooter as D’Antoni would like, but his court vision would be a dream.
While the Kings currently are a lottery pick (and they wouldn’t use that on Marshall), if they could get a second selection, Marshall would be fantastic. The Kings desperately need an unselfish ball handler to mesh with their scoring guards and Marshall’s IQ is seriously needed in Sacramento.
And while it’s unlikely the Mavericks will own their pick this season (they traded their 2012 selection for Lamar Odom, but the pick is top 20 protected) Marshall would be a great replacement for the aging Jason Kidd. But then again, the Mavericks are hoping to swipe up Deron Williams over the summer.
Conclusion: Marshall would be great for any team that needs to work on building an offensive gameplan, and as long as they don’t expect him to score, Marshall’s passing and instincts will make him a solid pro. If he eventually adds some consistency to his jumper, he could be a steal of the draft.
Photo Credit: Lance King/Icon SMI