Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/7/12

With the National Basketball Association just around the three months corner the one story that I keep looking at is… what role will Kendall Marshall fill for the Phoenix Suns? We know it will not be as the apprentice to veteran floor general Steve Nash, as the 38 year old has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. But will the rookie from Chapel Hill now be the man in charge, or will the Suns go back to Goran Dragic, a player that they let go not too many seasons ago and are now bringing back with a four year deal worth $ 34 million. And even more importantly, what will all of this mean for the young man who led the North Carolina Basketball program for almost two seasons as far as his future in the NBA?

The base salary for the 13th overall pick for the 2012-13 season is $1,599,300, but some flexibility is allowed in either increasing or lowering that figure.

If things go according to plan Marshall could easily be the starting point guard for his first NBA franchise, as he has signed his rookie deal with Phoenix. But that is not a given right now, and it’s not sure that it might be the best thing for him either. Most think of Marshall as the starting point guard for the Heels for the last two seasons, he was not, as he spent the first 20 games or so his freshman year coming off the bench, and that might have helped him a lot in the overall scheme of things. I am still in the full belief that in order for the former UNC floor general to be as good as he could be at the next level he needs a year or so of learning curve, and that is why I thought being behind Nash would have been the perfect thing for him. Now, this will not happen, and the 20 year old will be battling someone else for either the starting position or for as many minutes as possible during the pre-season and then be battling the best of the best during a grueling rookie season in the pro’s.

“I can tell you now, we did not — we did not — get Kendall for his athleticism,” Suns GM Lance Blanks said with a smile. “Kendall knows that. We got him for his brain, his ability to make people better, who he is off the court for our locker room. He is in perfect alignment with what we want to be about as people and as an organization.”

As I said many times before, be it on my posts, on twitter, or some UNC web board, Kendall Marshall has both the talent and the skills to be playing at the next level. However, he also has some things he must work on in order to be as good as he can in the National Basketball Association. Having had both a great mentor like Steve Nash and some time on the bench where his presence was not going to be as crucial might have definitely made Marshall’s transition from college to pro a lot easier. This way, he has now basically two months to learn and improve on things that he might have had two years to do so as Nash stayed. Hopefully he will pick this offense just as quickly as he picked up the Carolina one under the tutelage of head coach Roy Williams at UNC. The young guard will be part of the Suns’ Summer League team, coached by Phoenix asst coach Dan Majerle, which will have their first game about a week from now, on July 15th. As usual, let me wish the former Tar Heel all the best as his voyage in the NBA begins. And to say to all the readers that as more and more information comes out about Marshall or any other Heel (present or former) I will post it right here on isportsweb.

The Suns hope that Marshall can do for them what he did for UNC against FSU, where he got 16 assists…

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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