Suns center Miles Plumlee will be the first to represent the Phoenix Suns in the All-Star Weekend, as a participant of the Rising Stars Challenge tonight on TNT.
Lottery pick PG Kendall Marshall had a rough rookie season in which he didn't inspire the confidence of either head coach, Alvin Gentry or Lindsey Hunter. Hunter gave Marshall playing time in the spring, but with Goran Dragic playing so well as the starter we didn't see Marshall in his full form.
But the bigger problem was that the 21-year old Marshall didn't inspire the long-term confidence of the new front office either. You would think that a 21 year old point guard would be considered one of the cornerstones of a rebuilding project for a 25-57 team set to draft a new lotto pick every year to join him.
Instead Marshall was shopped in the offseason to every NBA team, and no one wanted him. He was finally traded as a throw-in to Washington, who immediately waived him, after getting beaten out for the third-PG spot by Ish Smith.
It just wasn't Marshall's best summer.
The Suns tried not to make the 2012 Draft a total waste though. Last summer, new GM Ryan McDonough picked up the #26 pick from that draft, C Miles Plumlee. Plumlee, though, had shown little promise in 2012-13 by playing only 55 minutes for the whole season.
Yet, the past few months have changed both players' fortunes.
Miles Plumlee has started every Suns game this season at the center position, posting a respectable 9.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 27 minutes a night. During the Suns' 10-3 December, Plumlee posted a near double-double.
As a reward, Plumlee was picked as one of 10 players to represent the 2012 NBA Draft (not bad for the 26th pick) in the Rising Stars Challenge tonight.
Marshall, on the other hand, spent two months out of basketball but became a Lakers reclamation project in early January and has posted nearly a double-double of his own (10.3 points, 9.5 assists) as a starter for the Lakers while Steve Nash was injured. The Lakers haven't won many games with Marshall - 3-13 in his 16 starts - and his defense is still suspect, but he's making a lot of shots and great passes.
Marshall came on too late to make the Rising Stars Challenge but he's proven to be a solid NBA player.