Tenth Pick Tournament Round One: Trading Up vs. Kendall Marshall

Published: June 8, 2012

Round One of the Hornets247 Tenth Pick Tournament continues with Michael McNamara backing Kendall Marshall and Jake Madison saying the Hornets should Trade Up.

Kendall Marshall

(By: Michael McNamara)

So, let’s just talk about who it is that Marshall is paired up against before we break down why he is the better choice. The Hornets won’t have the ability to get to 2 or 3, otherwise I would be all for the decision to trade up. In fact, that was my dream scenario in last week’s podcast. But again…it was a dream- won’t happen. They can get up to 6 or 7, though, if they were desperate enough to grab Harrison Barnes or even Andre Drummond, should he fall that low. So that’s what we’re talking about here- Kendall Marshall vs. trading future commodities and/or taking on bad contracts to grab Barnes or Drummond.

Give me Marshall.

As I have stated in the past, I want to use the draft to grab guys that have unique skill sets that I am unlikely to find in free agency or the trade market. When you look at Kendall Marshall, he is the rarest of the rare. Since Draft Express launched in 2001, Kendall Marshall’s 10.7 assists per 40 minutes adjusted is the HIGHEST in the history of their data base, and he is also #1 All-Time in Pure Point Ratio. That is the definition of elite. Oh, and his assist to turnover ratio is a putrid 3rd highest of all players since 2001. What a disappointment!

Now comes the part where people say, “Yeah, but he can’t score.” Really, because I saw him score when he wanted to. What I didn’t see is Harrison Barnes score when Marshall went down with an injury. We had UNC blogger Brian Barbour come on a few weeks back and tell the story of UNC’s February match-up with rival NC State. Apparently, some of the coaches from NC State called Marshall “one-dimensional” (like many uneducated critics do). Marshall responded with 22 points on just 8 shots, including 4-5 from three. Oh, and he had 13 assists and ZERO turnovers to go with it. After the game he replied, “One-dimensional, huh?”

Saying Kendall Marshall can’t score is as ignorant as saying CP3 can’t score in the first half of NBA games. Of course he can, he just chooses to get other guys involved instead because it is what is best for the team. In fact, Marshall scored in double digits in his last six games (finale against Duke and ACC tourney/NCAA tourney games) when his team needed him to. In those six big games at the end of the year, Marshall averaged 15 PPG, shot 58% (50% from three) and still averaged over 10 APG.

So, the can’t score thing is just lazy and untrue. But the “below average defense” thing is justifiable and certainly has its merits. He does lack elite lateral quickness, and he will undoubtedly get beat by some of the elite point guards in this league. But, he might not have to guard them. Remember, in the limited time we saw Eric Gordon last year, he often covered the team’s quickest guard and because Marshall is 6’4″, he can easily cover the shooting guard if that is a better matchup.

What you have here is a basketball player and a leader. What you don’t have is a YouTube friendly prospect who will get the fan base pumped up. You want highlights and “potential”, trade up and take your chances with guys who have shown no ability to be leaders or rise to the occasion when their team needed them. That’s what wins in the playoffs, isn’t it?

No, what wins in the playoffs is team work, unselfishness, and leadership- and this guy has all of those things in spades. In fact, when you talk to anybody who followed UNC basketball, they often say that Marshall was the most vocal and respected leader they can remember ever at UNC. That kind of stuff is contagious, and Anthony Davis possesses the same leadership and work ethic on the defensive end. Put those two on the same squad and everybody will fall in line for the next ten years. Kevin Love often talked about how Rubio’s play made everybody else less selfish/more willing to make the extra pass, and Marshall is the same way. Not to mention the fact that he will get Davis an extra 2-3 buckets a game while he is maturing on the offensive end.

If you want toughness, leadership, production, and an elite skill set that is reminiscent in some ways of a young John Stockton at best and a young Andre Miller at worst, then you draft Kendall Marshall and watch every player on your team grow to love him, and have their games blossom because of him. The choice is yours.

Trade Up

(By Jake Madison)

Michael is right, trading up to the 2nd or 3rd pick is unrealistic. Same with the 4th where the Cavaliers have no plans on trading down. But you know what? That’s okay with me.

Go around from site to site and take a look at all the mock drafts. Anthony Davis is the consensus first pick but after him picks 2 through 10 could go any number of ways. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seems to be the second best prospect but is slated to go anywhere from 2 to 6. Even Michael has him going 4th in his mock draft. All it would take would be Thomas Robinson or Harrison Barnes (who the Cavs are targeting) going in the top 4 for the Hornets to have a chance at MKG. Bradly Beal and Andre Drummond would potentially be in play as well.

I say trade the 10th pick, next year’s first rounder and, say, Gustavo Ayon to the Kings for the 5th pick. No one other than Barnes in that 2nd tier group of prospects seems like a good fit for the Kings. While they might drool at the idea of pairing Drummond with DeMarcus Cousins, they would probably be better suited taking a similar but less talented and safer pick like John Henson later on. On the flip side, the Hornets could strike gold if Kidd-Gilchrist, Deal or Dummond fall to the 5th pick.

It may not be likely, but it is certainly within a realistic realm of possibility. With Davis seen as a sure thing, Dell Demps can afford to take a risk. At worst, the team ends up with a much better prospect than Marshall.

It’s not that I don’t like Marshall. I’d just like him at the 17th pick instead of the 10th. I think he’ll be an okay point guard and a borderline starter in the NBA. Marshall reminds me of Greivis Vasquez on both offense and defense; he might be better than some starters, but he’s not top 20 quality.

Who knows who will be available at the 10 sport. There is no guarantee that Damian Lillard or any of the other prospects will be. If that’s who your favorite pick is then the Hornets have no choice but to trade up to get them. With the Raptors looking for a small forward, offer them Ariza and the 10th pick for the 8th. The Raptors fill a need, and, since they have almost no bad contracts, they can afford to take on Ariza’s salary–at the worst they can also send Linas Kleiza the Hornets’ direction. Trading up assures the Hornets of getting the player they want.

Lastly, leadership and unselfishness are not what wins playoff games. Talent and star players do.  Look at Chris Paul with the Hornets as an example. He was at the top of those two qualities and all he did was win one playoff series. There simply wasn’t enough talent around him to get over the hump. Boston, Miami, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City all have multiple stars. Marshall might be a good player but he won’t ever be on the level of Westbrook, Rondo, Harden, etc.

Let’s not let Davis suffer the same fate as Paul. The Hornets might not have another chance to trade into the top 5. Next year’s pick will most likely be around 15 and it will be much more expensive to trade up from there. The majority of stars are taken in the top 5. Let’s make a move and get two in this draft.