For Suns rookie point guard Kendall Marshall, it has been a rocky first season. Marshall spent most of the first half of the year on the bench appearing in just 12 games through the month of January and was even sent to the NBA Developmental League and spent some time with the Bakersfield Jam.
It might not have gone as planned for Marshall, but it has all be a great learning experience.
“It was very hard,” Marshall stated. “I think the main thing is realizing that you have to be patient with this process. When you get to this level you’re not going to be the best player on your team or on the court, so you have to find other ways to contribute as well as getting better.”
“That’s what I’ve had to learn over this first four or five months of my career,” added Marshall. “Is being patient and continuing to get better.”
Being patient and learning his role at this level is starting to pay dividends. Marshall is now the point guard off the bench behind Goran Dragic and has played in every game in that role since February 1st. His numbers wont jump off the page at you but what doesn’t show on the stat sheet is how important the time on the floor has been for him.
“I think I have improved tremendously not just physically but mentally,” said Marshall. “Getting more confidence in my ability to help the team while I’m on the court.”
“That experience is invaluable,” explained Marshall. “You can get all of the individual that you want but nothing fills in for that game time experience. So it is good to be out there with my teammates competing and getting better.”
Coaches, the front office and media in attendance at practice can see the work he is putting in. Marshall is quickly learning his role and where he needs to improve to stay on the floor and gain more playing time. The knock on him out of college was his ability to shoot the ball from the outside. So what has Marshall done in response? Be one of the last ones off the practice floor putting up hundreds of shots with the coaches well after the conclusion of team practice.
“My greatest strength is passing the ball but if guys are going underneath screens every time, it’s going to be hard for me to utilize my passing ability,” said Marshall. “So I have to make sure I keep a respectable jump shot and making sure the defense keeps a hand up on me so it’s a lot easier to pass the ball to my teammates.”