Posts tagged “phoenix suns future

Suns draft pick Marshall will have big shoes to fill quickly

BY KEVIN BERTRAM, contributor

The Phoenix Suns selected point guard Kendall Marshall with the No. 13 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Photo by: Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr

In last Thursday’s NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns surprised many by taking North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, 20, ahead of other, more alluring talents, such as collegiate teammate John Henson, Iowa State’s Royce White or Baylor’s Perry Jones III.

The Suns were in an unenviable position heading into the draft, with early every position — beyond center, manned by the still-improving, near-star Marcin Gortat — in need of an upgrade, and with serious question marks surrounding Steve Nash’s future in Phoenix. So, as many analysts asked, why did the Suns take Marshall ahead of other, more-talented players?

The simple answer is that Marshall is a talented player. He’s arguably the best pass-first point guard to enter the league since Ricky Rubio in 2009. In 33 minutes a game at UNC, he scored 8.1 points-per-game and dished out 9.8 assists per-game. He averaged 2.8 turnovers-per-game. These statistics placed him second in the NCAA for assist-to-turnover ratio with 3.5, a useful metric for measuring how efficient a passer is. Overall, he finished second in the NCAA in assists-per-game by a hair to Iona’s Scott Machado, who had less talent on his roster to work with, but also faced less-threatening defenses. (more…)

Nash to Lakers sparks uncertainty and anguish


NBA point guard Steve Nash was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Los Angeles Lakers on July 4 for four future draft picks. Photo by: geomediainc / Flickr

In the summer of 2004, there were two premiere NBA free agents in the class: Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. The Phoenix Suns, who much like this summer had boatloads of cap room, had a decision to make about who to chase. Eventually, the front office geared their efforts toward Nash, the perennial All-Star who was being absurdly let go by the Dallas Mavericks.

Nash would go on to win back-to-back MVPs and revitalize a franchise in a way rarely seen before in the league. He guided the Suns to four straight playoff appearances (five out of eight total) and three trips to the Western Conference Finals, but never played in an NBA Finals.

His last appearance in the West Finals, a six game series loss to Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, saw the Black Mamba explode for 37 points in the clincher.

Now, inexplicably, the backcourt duo will unite in Los Angeles, via a sign-and-trade deal that sent Nash to the purple and gold in exchange for multiple draft picks and 3.1 million dollars.

The sudden news brought on a wide range of emotions, from disappointment and shock to anger and heartbreak. For so long, Suns fans have clung to Nash as the reason for hope in a town that loves its basketball team, a team that has yet to win a title but has come so close so many times. Nash resembled a person we looked to when we needed to find loyalty, perseverance and dedication. He represented everything a franchise player should be — outstanding on the court, having a good rapport with the media and making good relations with the community. (more…)