Halfway through a rookie year, an NBA player often hits a wall physically, emotionally or mentally. Suns rookie Kendall Marshall had played a half-season, 41 games, entering Friday night’s game but is just getting started as the season is about to end in 11 days. Marshall was not a full-time part of the rotation until February, which the 21-year-old Suns backup point guard admits will leave him still going through the rookie experience into next season. “Honestly, I wish we still had a few more games left,” Marshall said. “I feel like I’m starting to get a rhythm. The numbers may not show it but just the feel and getting the guys shots on the court. I feel like I’m starting to feel it. It’s been a different rookie year for me than Anthony Davis or Damian Lillard but that’s a part of the development. I’m playing behind a guy like Goran (Dragic), who is probably our best player and puts his heart out there every night. I get to learn from him, which is great as well.” The only time Marshall felt the rigors of the season was when he made his first two NBA starts when Dragic rested. He was the first Suns rookie since Negele Knight in 1991 to record consecutive double-digit assist games but also had a difficult time guarding Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas. “I feel like defensively I’ve done a much better job than I expected this year,” Marhsall said. “Isaiah did get a little loose on me. But for the most part, I’ve done a good job of covering my deficiencies and getting through screens. I’ve been a lot better about using my size. That (pushing up on ball-handlers rather than backing up) is something I had to learn because when he (interim coach Lindsey Hunter) first told me, I looked at him crazy.” Marshall said he strives for Dragic’s consistent high effort and output, still feeling like his immediate and long-term future is not secure because of the last-place season the team is having. That rang true Friday, when his first-half stint lasted four minutes when an 18-point Suns lead was cut to eight. Offensively, Marshall said he has done a better job of driving with the ball and his shot noticeably has more arc than when he arrived. “I wish I could tell Kendall from a year ago to remain positive, understand the beast of the business and to keep your head in your lane,” Marshall said.
Suns guard Kendall Marshall finds groove, but it may be too late
Arizona Republic | Apr 6