Phoenix Suns 2012-13 player review: Kendall Marshall

USA TODAY Sports

During a largely forgettable season Kendall Marshall provided largely forgettable performances. Ironically, after being disintered from the end of the bench midseason he provided fodder that vindicated his proponents while validating his detractors. But what exactly should be the criteria for judging the success of Marshall's first season?

Judging Kendall with respect to his peers.

Marshall_5

I think these statistical categories provide a a fairly comprehensive analytical tool.

Ranking Marshall against players taken in his propinquity, Marshall is near the bottom. Austin Rivers is the base of the totem pole, but Kendall appears to be just above him. The big men rated out most favorably, while the three guards struggled. Lamb doesn't really have enough of a sample size to draw comparisons. Marshall's total minutes were also near the pyramid's base, which doesn't adumbrate auspiciously, but part of that was depth chart problems and playing behind Goran Dragic (who logged heavy minutes).

When looking at a comparison between point guards drafted in the first round Marshall is right in line with where he should be. He is behind the phenom Lillard and ahead of Wroten and Teague, who also may have had truncated playing time due to playing on better teams. The fact that Kendall was drafted closer to Lillard than the other two does make his overall performance somewhat lackluster.

Grade: D+

Judging Kendall based on his improvement.

Perusing Kendall's game logs, which you can view for yourself here, there are a couple positive trends.

After only recording one game score above 5.2 in his first 24 appearances, Marshall had eight above that watermark in his last 24 appearances.

On the season Marshall averaged 7.3 assists per 36, but that was bolstered by 8.1 assists per 36 for the second half of the season.

Unfortunately, other aspects of Marshall's game, such as shooting and scoring, saw imperceptible improvement at best... e.g. Kendall only had three double digit scoring games all season, but reached double digit assists in all three of his starts.

Marshall did close out the season with an impressive 14 assist, zero turnover performance, but only scored two points... which further supports the fairly salient trends I've mentioned.

Grade: C-

Judging Kendall based on expectations.

Going back to pre-draft discussions leading up to the June 28, 2012 festivities many people had a roseate opinion of Kendall's ability at the next level. In this draft preview of Damian Lillard, Marshall was seen as better than Lillard by 18% of respondents. Another 27% felt that they were fairly equal. That's 45% of people that felt that Kendall was close to or better than Lillard in terms of skill level/potential.

Going into the season with those types of assumptions, it is no wonder why Marshall disappointed many Suns' fans. But is that Marshall's fault? The Suns are the ones that drafted him #13. They were the ones talking him up, but even they propounded that Marshall may be a little bit of a project and might need a little seasoning to reach his potential. Most scouts had him anywhere from where he was picked to later teens; it wasn't a stretch pick according to the pundits. As fans some of us chose to put him in an echelon with Lillard. So was Marshall an abject failure or were the lofty expectations unrealistic?

Even our staff mock draft had Marshall in the 13-19 range, which means we didn't think the Suns were reaching either. Sean and I even accurately predicted that the Suns would take Marshall at 13, but I mentioned there were guys I preferred. I also had John Henson higher, so maybe that would have been a better pick when he fell.

I'm not going to hold lofty expectations against Kendall. There was definitely talk that he would need some learning curve time and I think that was a justified foretoken.

Grade: C

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In my final analysis I will use an amalgamation of the three grades as a weather vane for Kendall's rookie season. He obviously has a lot of work to do, but I also felt he showed at least a few glimmers of hope. He didn't blow me away, but he didn't completely blow.

Overall Grade: C-

So how do you think Marshall grades out?

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