This isn’t a debate. Shawn Marion is one of the greatest players of Phoenix Suns franchise history and it’s about time he gets more recognition for it.
The Suns selected “The Matrix” with the 9th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft out of UNLV. Marion spent nine seasons in Phoenix before getting traded to Miami for Shaquille O’neal in 2008 in a shocking deal that broke up the Suns “Big 3” of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion, forever ending an era in Phoenix.
After leaving Phoenix, Marion had a couple short stints in Miami and Toronto for a season and a half. He eventually landed in Dallas where he spent five seasons and played a valuable role in the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship run. He played his final season in Cleveland where he afterwards retired at the age of 36.
Marion’s ranks on the Suns all-time franchise leaderboard:
- Win shares: 1st
- VORP: 1st
- Steals: 2nd
- Rebounds: 2nd
- BPM (box plus/minus): 2nd
- Minutes played: 2nd
- Blocks: 3rd
- Field goals: 3rd
- Points: 4th
- PER: 5th
- Games played: 6th
Shawn Marion was so much fun to watch. The most unheralded member of the ‘7 Seconds or Less’ era.— Zona Sports (@AZSportsZone) July 18, 2019
Brought it on both ends. #TheMatrix #tbt pic.twitter.com/LAU9E18VH8
Below are his numbers during his age 27 season in 2005/06, just as a reminder of how ridiculously well-rounded his game was:
21.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 40.3 MPG, on 52/33/81 shooting splits in 81 games played.
This was the same season where Amare Stoudemire missed (basically) the entire year, and the Suns won 54 games while Steve Nash was crowned MVP. Marion finished in the top 10 in MVP voting and Defensive Player of the Year voting that season as well.
Marion is one of the more underrated defenders in NBA history, as his versatility on that end was well ahead of its time.
He was the glue that held the “7 Seconds or Less” Suns together for many years, and was somewhat underappreciated by NBA fans in general.
His style of play as a forward was not “normal” during that era of basketball, and he paved the way for future Jack of all trades/Swiss Army knife-types that were labeled as “tweeners”. His versatility was used as a weapon of destruction on both ends.
- 4x NBA All-Star
- 2x top-15 MVP voting finishes
- 6x NBA Player of the Week
- 2x NBA Player of the Month
- All-Rookie 2nd Team
- 2x All-NBA 3rd Team
- 1x NBA Champion
Steve Nash didn’t “make” him
Nash has made careers for many over the years, as you saw him bring out the best in players and optimize their skillsets, but Marion was already dominant before his arrival.
Marion actually made his first All-Star appearance before Nash even arrived in Phoenix, and very shockingly only spent three full seasons with “MVSteve”, which doesn’t sound right, but is true.
Marion was putting up All-NBA caliber numbers early and often in his career with Jason Kidd and Stephon Marbury running the show pre-Nash.
Make no mistake about it though, Nash undoubtedly made him better and helped cement his greatness, but he wasn’t overly reliant on him to become a star like we’ve seen with others in the past.
Marion also went on to win a ring in Dallas, where he played an important role for the Mavericks. Sure, he wasn’t a star at the time, but adapting to his surroundings and making the most as a valuable role player should only strengthen his case for the Hall of Fame.
According to Basketball Reference, his Hall of Fame “probability” is 75.59%, which sandwiches him between two current members of the HOF on the list in Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman.
I believe he has one of the more interesting/complex cases when it comes to being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, as his resume isn’t your prototypical candidate with the roles he’s been thrust in and his unorthodox play style. When you take a look at his career numbers and compare them to current Hall of Famers, they don’t lie. He belongs.
Not only should he be a lock for the Suns’ Ring of Honor, but his greatness should be forever etched into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Only two players in NBA history have ever averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block per game over a five-year stretch: Hakeem Olajuwon and Shawn Marion. That’s it.
The Suns need to make the right move and schedule his induction ceremony to the Ring of Honor in the renovated Talking Stick Resort Arena in 2020/2021. Immediately.