Marshall Makes His Suns Debut

By Aaron Seidlitz,

Posted: July 17, 2012

For as cool and composed as he appears to be, Phoenix Suns rookie point guard Kendall Marshall said the emotion of his Suns debut Tuesday night made an impression he won't soon forget.

“It definitely was different, because it’s your first time playing at the professional level,” Marshall said. “I was excited, nervous and anxious. It was just a whole bunch of feelings rolled into one.”

The former North Carolina Tar Heel, who the Suns drafted 13th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, admitted after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers that this was just the start of his learning process.

But that’s what the summer league is all about.

“It takes some adjustments,” Marshall said. “I know that there’s plenty still that I need to learn, and it’s just a matter of getting better and learning from your mistakes every day.”

Despite not scoring against the Cavaliers, Marshall was able to rack up five assists and three steals. His regret was the five giveaways next to his name following the team’s 89-74 loss.

“I definitely want to cut down on the turnovers,” he said. “I feel like if we were to get more shots and less turnovers it will make us a better team.”

The scouting report on Marshall out of college emphasized his playmaking ability. The left-hander was often able to make teammates around him better by leading the break with a pass-first mindset.

Marshall played against one of his former Tar Heel teammates Tuesday night. After the game, Cleveland forward Tyler Zeller confirmed the kind of ability that the point guard does have.

He emphasized how good of a passer Marshall can be; something that was shown at times during this game. Zeller said it isn’t necessarily the spectacular pass that his former teammate makes, but it’s the consistency with which he puts the ball in the right place for a scorer that makes him special.

“He always gets the ball to you at the right time, in the right position and that can go a long way,” the big man said.

Zeller explained that for post players, in particular, if the pass isn’t in the right place it will lower the scorer’s field goal percentage.

He then stretched his arm out away from his body when describing where he’s had bad entry passes come in. But then he shrunk his arms back into his body, thus depicting where he felt Marshall got him the ball consistently at UNC.

At the end of this day, though, Suns summer league head coach Dan Majerle emphasized just how much his new guard has on his plate right now as a rookie running the show.

“I didn’t expect him to catch on that quickly," Majerle said. "He’ll be fine. He just has to figure out his game.

"He will learn when he has to shoot, when he has to deliver and when he has to be aggressive. He’s trying to run the team, run the plays and it’s a lot of things for a young guard to absorb over the course of a few days.”

Emptying the Notebook

  • Power forward Markieff Morris once again led the Suns in scoring and rebounding Tuesday night with 24 points and 17 rebounds. In 32 minutes, Morris helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback that cut what was once a 17-point deficit to as few as four.

    • DeShawn Sims continues to turn a few heads during this summer league stint. After 16 points in the team’s first game Sunday, Sims came back Tuesday and added 12 more against Cleveland. The 6-foot-8 wing has a nice outside-inside game. His decent touch from behind the arc allowed him to sink 3-of-5 attempts from three-point land in two games. He’s also athletic and physical enough to drive and rebound the ball.

      • Off the bench, both Marcus Landry and PJ Tucker continue to get extended periods of playing time for the Suns. On Tuesday, Tucker had eight points on 4-of-8 shooting to go along with four rebounds. His 21 minutes were the most for a non-starter. Landry had 11 points and three rebounds against Cleveland, just one game after collecting 12 points and five rebounds.

        • Marshall’s presence in the lineup cut back on both Erving Walker and Diante Garrett’s minutes, as expected. On Sunday, that duo went for 20 points. Garrett started the first game, and Walker provided a spark off the bench. Both have an ability to break down the defense and get into the lane, but Garrett also has the size and mid-range ability to finish in the paint.