caseyholdahl

Apr 26

David Thorpe Says Kendall Marshall Is 'The Perfect Fit' For Portland

By caseyholdahl Posted in: 2012draft, draft2012

ESPN.com's David Thorpe, who has worked in player development for years and is executive director of the highly-regarded Pro Training Center in Florida, has been going through the lottery teams and picking out which player in the draft would best fill needs of said lottery team. Today he turns his attention to the Trail Blazers. It's a great article that, if you has ESPN Insider, is well worth your time (he also says the Trail Blazers are "not your typical sad-sack lottery team" and calls Nicolas Batum a "potential all-star," thus proving that there are non-Trail Blazers fans who think he's got a higher ceiling than some would lead you to believe).

Thorpe breaks his picks for the Trail Blazers into two groups: kind of fits and perfect fits. Under the kind of, he lists Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger, North Carolina swingman Harrison Barnes, Weber State point guard Damian Lillard and North Carolina bigman John Henson. He makes strong arguments for why any of those guys would look great in Portland next season. But when it comes to the perfect fit, Thorpe channels his inner, long-time suffering Trail Blazers fan who has been dying to get the ever-elusive "point guard of the future" by choosing North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall as the prospect who best fits Portland's needs.
He's a better "value" pick with the Blazers' second choice, but in a few years no one will care when he was selected. Marshall has the kind of game that Batum needs to play at his best -- someone who can find Batum sprinting or slashing so he does not need but a few dribbles to score. Matthews and Aldridge, too, would benefit from a great passer, and Marshall might be the best passing prospect in a decade.

He is the classic player whose sum is greater than his individual parts, which is a talent unto itself. He's more than just a great assist man, he's a willing ball mover. Portland was basically a bottom-third team in assist rate this season, something unlikely to happen again with Marshall on board. Matthews, Batum and Aldridge can offer him defensive protection, one minute area of weakness for Marshall.

The front office has stated many times that point guard and center are the two areas of emphasis this offseason, and drafting Marshall would certainly go a long way toward filling one of those needs, though drafting players with broken wrists hasn't worked out so well in the past. Nevertheless, he's got the combination of skills at a position we need to overcome that superstition.

Marshall is the only point guard in this draft that has the feel of a sure-fire starter in the NBA. If the team could sign a free agent point guard, then let Marshall or Nolan Smith duke it out (no pun intended) for the understudy role, that point guard of the future equation might be solved.

9 Comments

  1. I read this article on BE, and I agree with you. Sarah and Adam suggested either, Williams or Nash as a Free agent or a quality PG to give Marshall time to develop would be great. Nolan can still be in the running as the understudy, but also can play the 2gd if needed. Marshall can learn defense, and when to shoot and when not to shoot.

    OBTW, do you think there are chances of bringing Monty Williams back as a head coach, or do you think it would be more of Nate? I liked Nate; he wasn't perfect, but nobody is.

    by Hg on 4/26/2012 11:01 AM
  2. The more I read about Marshall, the more I believe he'll be a top flight point guard. Players with his court vision and passing ability come along once every 5 or so years. I'd love to nab Beal with the Nets pick (*fingers crossed* that we get the pick) and then grab Marshall at #11.

    by DHawes22 on 4/26/2012 11:02 AM
  3. DHawes22: don't we need a center or at least a big man opposed to a 2gd? Elliot Williams could be our 2gd, but then we have Joe Freeland as a possible big, but I would still like to get a big in the draft, take Marshall and get Nash with free agency or trade to train Marshall. I think we will get Joel P back to train a big

    by Hg on 4/26/2012 11:20 AM
  4. Why does everyone want D.Will or Steve Nash? D. Will = bad attitude/no loyalty/coach killer...S.Nash = Twilight of his career, no surprise potential. Why not go for a guy like Dragic, similar numbers to Nash, plus untapped potential. He also studied under Nash for 2 years in meaningful playoff minutes...That can't be undervalued. I go for Dragic. Then draft a scorer and Marshall. I would rather see a front court of Aldridge and Hickson than trying to fit a rookie center into the mix.

    by calvinbp on 4/26/2012 12:45 PM
  5. @calvinbp: I brought up D. Will and Nash, not because I am so keyed on them, but wondering if the Blazers was keyed on them,
    I agree with you on Dragic and then getting Marshall as an understudy, I do disagree with you on drafting a shooter, we have the rights to Diebler(SP) that will be here for the summer league, and may be our shooter. IMO, get a center with our first pick if available and bring back Joel to be the Mentor; and get Marshall with our second pick if we have one. Lamarcus and JJ can be center and PF at times, but would get beat to death at other times.

    by Hg on 4/26/2012 1:23 PM
  6. I would love to see the us get Marshall. Felton had a decent rest of the season, but there's probably too many haters that wouldn't accept his return, not to mention the potential with Marshall. I'd love to see the Blazers snag a solid Center with that Nets pick, maybe even Zeller, but not a SG. Matthews has a hell of a work ethic, and if this year taught us anything about EWill its that his middle name is potential. Crawford probably won't reappear, but thats fine. J.J. Hickson future 6th man of the year?

    by Nash10539 on 4/27/2012 1:55 AM
  7. @Nash10539
    I agree with you, IMO, if we had Jamal and Felton back, we would lose half of our fanbase, and it would be a repeat of this year regardless of who we get in FA, draft or trade.
    In fact, IMO again, one of our problems this year other then the two mentioned above was our lack of depth and or Nate not using more players in an intense all games crammed too close together season. As you said, Felton did have a better season after the All-Star break, and that was partially do to less playing time, because Kaleb used more of the bench. That being said, we should keep most of the players we played at the end of the season.
    I also agree with you that Matthews will get better and better as he is trying new tricks to keep the defense honest, and he is as you said a work horse on defense and offense; just not having Felton and Crawford back will help his game immensely; Right now Matthews is an off ball 2gd and isn't great at creating his shot, but is getting better. with a pass first PG as Marshall is and a top notch PG from free agency will help Matthews, Batum, JJ, LMA and E Williams tremendously, if we keep any or all of the players mentioned.

    by Hg on 4/27/2012 6:15 AM
  8. @HG -
    Do we need a center? Most definitely. But outside of Andre Drummond, there isn't one worthy of taking with either of our 1st round picks. I know we have Wes and Elliot at the 2, but Beal is going to be special and I'm a big proponent of taking the best player available. Also, the league is becoming more guard oriented. We can get away with playing LA at the 5, so upgrading our backcourt is priority #1 to me.

    by DHawes22 on 4/27/2012 9:44 AM
  9. @DHawes22
    Thank you for your input, very much appreciated. I don't know that much about Beal other then what I have read. I do know we need a PG that can set up offenses and read opponents defenses. We also need some bigs to rebound for the guards. That is the two areas that I have been thinking about. Taking the BPA is a great way to go, but Packaging up one of the picks and trading for a proven big man wouldn't be bad either.
    I will be happy either way we go, but I am more in the mind of mediate help then future help.

    by Hg on 4/27/2012 10:59 AM
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