The Sixers acquired Kendall Marshall yesterday where he will play for their D-League squadron, the probably-Adam-Aron-named Delaware 87ers. As we told you, this isn't like they're sending him down to the Sevens under team control -- if they wanted to call him up, they would have to sign him to an NBA contract and waive someone else.
I'm excited for Marshall for reasons that aren't necessarily 100% basketball-related, but since that's what kind of matters, let's talk about that. He's a 22-year-old 6'4 point guard out of UNC that played one really bad season on a really bad Phoenix Suns team. Upon being drafted, he expected to play behind Steve Nash. When Nash went to the Lakers, the system fell apart and, on top of the wrist he broke that ended his UNC career, he never adjusted.
That's a shame because he has spectacular court vision and can really run an offense. Roy Williams called him the best passer he's ever coached. Marshall is a pass-first, pass-second, pass-eighth, shoot-someday-maybe point guard. He makes Pablo Prigioni look like a ball-hog. With UNC, Kendall had two seasons of really great supporting casts around him -- Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Reggie Bullock -- so he never shot. He averaged 7.7 shots per 40 minutes during that time, less than noteworthy names like David Dupont and Patrick Crouch.
At the NBA level, that's unacceptable.
He's bad on defense -- though most NBA point guards are pretty bad on defense -- but if he can at least become a decent team defender, then the liability goes away mostly. It's the shooting that needs to improve. He was a 36.6% career three-point shooter at UNC so there's at least something there. He's just got to improve, and I'm sure that's what he'll work on in Delaware.
I think he's capable of becoming the perfect backup to Michael Carter-Williams. Hopefully he'll make use of his height more as he matures, because developing an Andre Miller-esque post game would make him a really tough cover for NBA point guards. He could slide MCW off the ball with Marshall at the point, let him run around screens and tire his man out. Having another guy that can *actually* run an offense (unlike Evan Turner or, let's be real, Tony Wroten) opens things up for Brett Brown in an interesting way. Options. All about options.
So when will it happen? Maybe later this year. Maybe sooner. You saw Hinkie give Darius Morris a shot and cut ties when he decided it was time. If Marshall shows something with the Sevens, I'd guess that same fate befalls Lorenzo Brown. If he never pans out, then it was worth a try -- just like Wroten, James Anderson, Daniel Orton, Royce White, and Elliot Williams before him. The Castoff First Round Pick Hinkie Brigade.
Or, alternative theory, Hinkie's got a big move down the pipeline and he's keeping Kendall in the wings for when the Sixers have an open roster spot. December 15th coming up!
Our best hope is that Marshall has had time to strengthen his broken wrist and his shooting form returns to half-decent. Either way, another low-low-low-low-risk move for Hinkie that could pay off nicely for him.
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