Giving up on a lottery pick two years into his career isn't easy or common. Giving up by pushing him out of the regular rotation is even more telling when a team is expected to finish dead-last, or something close to it, in its conference.
That's the reality for the Phoenix Suns and second-year point guard Kendall Marshall, who former general manager Lance Blanks took 13th overall last season. As Bright Side of the Sun's Dave King writes, Marshall was a healthy scratch in the Suns' last two preseason games -- Ish Smith even got some burn as a backup point guard -- and it's becoming clear Marshall might not be in first-year coach Jeff Hornacek's plans.
Kendall Marshall is certainly wondering what the hell happened to his NBA career, and is most likely wondering how much the Suns had to do with it - that they haven't given him the chance to shine by playing him so few minutes.
He certainly believes he's an NBA player, and now wonders when he will get that chance. Maybe he wants the Suns to decline the third year contract so he can start fresh. Definitely, he hopes for a trade to a better situation if he's not going to get playing time in Phoenix.
Even though Marshall is stuck behind Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, it's conceivable for a team to find time for a prospect who left North Carolina after his sophomore season. Unless, that is, said team already knows what it's getting. It's true that Marshall's biggest flaws -- his wonky jump shot and inability to break down defenders off the dribble -- could outweigh his best gift, which is his passing ability.
Marshall shot 37 percent from the field as a rookie and only got to the foul line 14 times in 702 minutes played, but he did average a decent-enough 7.3 assists per 36 minutes on a bad team.
If Marshall is truly out of the rotation come Phoenix's regular season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, it says a few things.
Firstly, it hints that the 2012 draft class, as it was then, is weak at the point guard spot after Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. Marshall was the next point guard drafted, and after that it was down to Tony Wroten (25th overall), Marquis Teague (29th) and Tyshawn Taylor (41st). Wroten didn't last two seasons in Memphis, while Teague and Taylor are fighting for minutes -- and might get them -- on elite playoff teams.
Additionally, Marshall's spot on the bench is evidence that the new Suns regime is truly going by production to start the year. Marshall could play the "I'm not his guy" card, but even then, the 22-year-old hasn't done anything to force Hornacek to play him.