For a really intelligent kid, the only description that applies to Kendall Marshall's self-awareness is the word "kid" at this point.
"They want me to keep up my conditioning, as well as getting game time," Marshall said to Paul Coro of azcentral.com, of what Suns General Manager Lance Blanks told him Wednesday night. "They think this will be good for me."
Let's remember the kid is only just 21 years old and has spent his entire basketball existence as the best playmaker on the court, all the way through leading North Carolina to a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
But success in high school and college does not guarantee success in the NBA. A point guard cannot just pass. He needs to run the offense, make the defense pay for their rotations by shooting when he's open and he needs to defend the other end of the court.
Concerns over those latter skills has resulted in Marshall playing the 13th man role. Before Wednesday night's 16 minutes of playing time, Marshall had only played 18 mop-up minutes in 14 games.
His 16 minutes last night started well when he made his first NBA shot - a smooth three-pointer from the angle right - but then eroded as time passed.
"After three minutes, I was gassed," Marshall said to azcentral.com's Paul Coro after the Pistons beatdown. "I hadn't played that long in a long time."
The Suns were outscored during Marshall's minutes 41-27. Those 41 Pistons points were largely scored by regular Pistons rotation players, who stayed on the court long after the Suns had gone to the end of the bench. Marshall scored 6 of the Suns' 27 points but had no assists. He had some nice passes but the Suns did not convert.
Now he gets his chance to play with the Bakersfield Jam. No word from the Suns how long his stint in Baskersfield will be, but it could (and should) be a long one that's only permeated by (a) a Telfair trade or (b) a swap with now-third-string PG Diante Garrett.
"Sebastian and Goran have been playing well so there won't be many minutes as of right now," Marshall said to Coro. "So to stay in game shape and get some reps, they thought that would be the best thing for me to do."
Neither Garrett nor Luke Zeller are going to Bakersfield at this time.
Garrett will now dress out each game in Marshall's place and take Marshall spot minutes when the game is either in hand or out of hand, or someone gets hurt.