Tony Wroten. John Henson. John Jenkins. Jared Sullinger. Maurice Harkless.
Those are all solid players taken in the 2012 NBA Draft who look to have a finer role with their respective teams in the future. They were also all drafted after the Phoenix Suns chose 13th-overall pick Kendall Marshall, whom most pegged as the “purest point guard” in the draft.
Yet, he hasn’t panned out like most of the other 14 lottery picks have.
It’s far too early to call Marshall a bust. No matter how average you think he’s been during his rookie season, it’s simply too early. That said, there are reasons to believe that he won’t be the player they once thought he would be.
While getting very minimal playing time over the first three months of the season under Alvin Gentry regime, interim coach Lindsey Hunter has freed Marshall from the bench. His numbers are decent for a player who is only getting 14 minutes per game, but his stats have decreased across the board since the all-star break.
Plus, his lack of a jump shot (37.3 FG percent, 31.1 3-point percent) is a problem that’ll loom over this organization until it improves drastically. Unlike the John Walls and Rajon Rondos of the NBA, Marshall doesn’t have the athleticism to make up for his lack of perimeter game. You could look at Ricky Rubio as a comparison, but Marshall’s playmaking skill pale alongside Rubio’s.
Also, 13th overall is high for a player that’s drafted to be the point guard of the future. Goran Dragic has that position all tied up until 2015.
Time is on Marshall’s side. With a training staff that has faith in him and a season that’s at it’s end, he’ll have a chance to improve. But, it looks like the Phoenix Suns whiffed an early pick that could have blessed the franchise for years to come.
Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers missing the playoffs this season will make up for it.