Thursday, July 18, 2013
Can Marshall thrive in transition?
By Joe Kaiser
Opinions are largely split on Kendall Marshall, and whether the second-year point guard can thrive in an up-tempo system. Some believe his basketball wits make up for any athletic shortcomings and his pass-first mentality could make him a solid point guard in that type of system. Others just don't see it. So what's the truth, as it stands today? One person offered a closer look that may help settle the issue, at least for the time being.
Ryan Weisert of Valley of the Suns delved deep into the topic today, contending that speed, good decision making, and the ability to finish at the rim were three of the top skills required to be considered an effective ball-handler in transition.
What Weisert found was that Marshall's draft combine times in the three-quarter sprint were "abysmal," as he was beaten by the likes of Robert Sacre and Tonike Shengaila, which indicate a lack of acceleration, and therefore point to a low ceiling as a point guard in transition. He also found that Marshall turned it over on 40 percent of his opportunities in transition, an extremely high rate considering the Suns as a team did so only 13 percent of the time in those situations. Lastly, Weisert uncovered that Marshall was better than only Sebastian Telfair among the poor Suns team last season on shots within 3 feet of the basket. In short, he's not a strong finisher, and that may be putting it lightly.
The bottom line here appears to be that if Marshall is ever going to be even average in an up-tempo system, he has a lot of work to do and quite a bit of improvements to make.