Judging Kendall with respect to his peers.
I think these statistical categories provide a a fairly comprehensive analytical tool.
Ranking Marshall against players taken in his propinquity, Marshall is near the bottom. Austin Rivers is the base of the totem pole, but Kendall appears to be just above him. The big men rated out most favorably, while the three guards struggled. Lamb doesn't really have enough of a sample size to draw comparisons. Marshall's total minutes were also near the pyramid's base, which doesn't adumbrate auspiciously, but part of that was depth chart problems and playing behind Goran Dragic (who logged heavy minutes).
When looking at a comparison between point guards drafted in the first round Marshall is right in line with where he should be. He is behind the phenom Lillard and ahead of Wroten and Teague, who also may have had truncated playing time due to playing on better teams. The fact that Kendall was drafted closer to Lillard than the other two does make his overall performance somewhat lackluster.
Judging Kendall based on his improvement.
Perusing Kendall's game logs, which you can view for yourself here, there are a couple positive trends.
After only recording one game score above 5.2 in his first 24 appearances, Marshall had eight above that watermark in his last 24 appearances.
On the season Marshall averaged 7.3 assists per 36, but that was bolstered by 8.1 assists per 36 for the second half of the season.
Unfortunately, other aspects of Marshall's game, such as shooting and scoring, saw imperceptible improvement at best... e.g. Kendall only had three double digit scoring games all season, but reached double digit assists in all three of his starts.
Marshall did close out the season with an impressive 14 assist, zero turnover performance, but only scored two points... which further supports the fairly salient trends I've mentioned.
Judging Kendall based on expectations.
Going back to pre-draft discussions leading up to the June 28, 2012 festivities many people had a roseate opinion of Kendall's ability at the next level. In this draft preview of Damian Lillard, Marshall was seen as better than Lillard by 18% of respondents. Another 27% felt that they were fairly equal. That's 45% of people that felt that Kendall was close to or better than Lillard in terms of skill level/potential.
Going into the season with those types of assumptions, it is no wonder why Marshall disappointed many Suns' fans. But is that Marshall's fault? The Suns are the ones that drafted him #13. They were the ones talking him up, but even they propounded that Marshall may be a little bit of a project and might need a little seasoning to reach his potential. Most scouts had him anywhere from where he was picked to later teens; it wasn't a stretch pick according to the pundits. As fans some of us chose to put him in an echelon with Lillard. So was Marshall an abject failure or were the lofty expectations unrealistic?
Even our staff mock draft had Marshall in the 13-19 range, which means we didn't think the Suns were reaching either. Sean and I even accurately predicted that the Suns would take Marshall at 13, but I mentioned there were guys I preferred. I also had John Henson higher, so maybe that would have been a better pick when he fell.
I'm not going to hold lofty expectations against Kendall. There was definitely talk that he would need some learning curve time and I think that was a justified foretoken.
In my final analysis I will use an amalgamation of the three grades as a weather vane for Kendall's rookie season. He obviously has a lot of work to do, but I also felt he showed at least a few glimmers of hope. He didn't blow me away, but he didn't completely blow.
Overall Grade: C-
So how do you think Marshall grades out?
McDonough interviewed with Suns president Lon Babby and owner Robert Sarver on Tuesday, sources said.
Weltman is expected to meet with them on Thursday, sources said.
I have already written a lot on Weltman, but it is encouraging that McDonough (a) was chosen as a finalist and (b) wanted to be interviewed despite not getting a clear "final say" in Phoenix.
McDonough's pedigree with the Celtics also is impressive to the Suns. He was a driving force in the drafting of guards Rajon Rondo (No. 21 in 2006) and Avery Bradley (No. 19 in 2010), and has been given considerable responsibility within the Celtics as the top assistant to general manager Danny Ainge.
The Suns still apparently have Spurs-envy, but at least Layden is proven. Wojnarowski breaks down Layden's resume.
Layden has been a GM for the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks. After returning as an assistant coach with the Jazz, Layden was hired as San Antonio's assistant GM a year ago. For seven years in the 1990s - which included five 50-victory seasons - Layden was the Jazz's top basketball executive and won the NBA's executive of the year award for the 1994-95 season.
As Knicks president and GM for four-plus years, the franchise made the playoffs twice, including a run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2000.
Babby told me earlier this week he wanted to name someone soon.
Layden and Weltman have the much longer career as talent evaluators, while McDonough is a rising star who gets a lot of cred but hasn't been around as long as the others.
Let's see who it turns out to be.
Amin worked in the Phoenix Suns' organization from 2006-2012 as he progressed through the positions of basketball operations intern, basketball operations assistant, assistant director of basketball operations and college scout.
Amin now works as a NBA analyst for ESPN Insider. Check out his work at http://search.espn.go.
You can also follow him on twitter @AminESPN.