Dime NBA Draft Profile: Kendall Marshall

By: 06.19.12
Kendall Marshall

Kendall Marshall (photo. Jeffrey Camarati/UNC Athletics)

They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, on June 28, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.

As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with mock drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on the future of Bradley Beal from Florida. Today, we’re looking into Kendall Marshall‘s crystal ball.

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PLAYER COMPARISONS:
Best Case: Jason Kidd
Worst Case: Sergio Rodriguez
Final comparison: Andre Miller

Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being overseas talent and 10 being NBA Rookie Of The Year)

Athleticism
Athletic is one adjective that does not describe Kendall Marshall. He is slow and has a hard time defending smaller and quicker guards. The one thing Marshall does have going for him in the athleticism department is an excellent first step. He is deceptive and sneaky. Part of the reason is because Marshall has excellent footwork and is so efficient with his strides. He plays below the rim and is a step slow, but at least Marshall has enough quickness to get by his defender.
Grade: 6

Skill
There has not been a floor general like Marshall in the college game for years. Marshall’s court vision, passing ability, and basketball I.Q are off the charts. If it weren’t for his mediocre outside shooting, Marshall would undoubtedly receive a 10 for skill. He averaged a ridiculous 9.7 assists per game (2nd in the nation) but even more absurd was his assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.51. Despite not being the most athletic player, Marshall’s moves on offense allow him to score 0.939 points per possession in isolation plays. It definitely helps that he is a lefty. All Marshall needs is a consistent jump shot to become a serious offensive weapon.
Grade: 9

NBA Readiness
Marshall is ready to run an NBA offense right now. He is one of the most NBA ready point guards in the draft. The big question mark is how well he can guard NBA point guards. Given his great size (6-4), he may be able to guard slower shooting guards. He did a decent job in college defensively. His sliding technique makes up for his lack of lateral quickness, but that might not fly in the NBA. Remember, he will be guarding guys like Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, and Derrick Rose. Nobody, however, thought Ricky Rubio would be the defender he is right now. Rubio came into the draft with the same exact knocks on his game and proved the critics wrong. It is entirely possible that Marshall could do the same.
Grade: 8

Upside
There is a misconception amongst fans that one’s athletic ability determines their ceiling. While this is partially true, athleticism is not the sole factor in determining upside. Marshall’s basketball I.Q is higher than most NBA prospects coming in. His ability to read defenses and adjust to situations will put him ahead of the curve for point guard prospects. There is also a serious lack of pass-first point guards in the world right now and Marshall could be a serious asset to a franchise looking to start from scratch.
Grade: 8

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Intangibles
Marshall makes players around him better and that is why his upside is higher than most would expect. He has the ability to maximize his potential. Just look at how Harrison Barnes played without Marshall. When Marshall went down in the NCAA tournament with a wrist injury, the entire Tar Heel locker room was devastated. This is the sign of a true leader.
Grade: 9

Combined score: 40 out of 50 possible points
Kendall Marshall is an amazing distributor who is the best pure point guard to come out of the draft since Ricky Rubio. He has great size but not great speed. The biggest question mark surrounding Marshall will be whether he can even begin to guard NBA point guards. Then again, nobody thought Ricky Rubio would be a good defender.

Best Fit: Portland Trail Blazers
Raymond Felton will be an unrestricted free agent after this year and it is unclear what direction the Portland Trail Blazers want to go in. One thing is for sure: Marshall would be a great fit. The Blazers already have proven scorers in LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, and Jamal Crawford (although Batum and Crawford are free agents). Marshall would already have weapons around him to unleash his distributing arsenal. Portland is also a team that is not likely wanting any long term projects either. Marshall would be able to step in right away and become their starting point guard.

Outside Opinion
“Kendall Marshall, in my opinion, was North Carolina’s best player. He certainly killed us. As a pro, I think he’ll be a guy who can come off of the bench and make things happen. I don’t really see him defending starting point guards. Not many guys coming out this year make their teammates good like he does other than Anthony Davis obviously.” – An anonymous Duke fan.

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