For 10 NBA seasons, the Phoenix Suns offense has been run by two-time MVP Steve Nash. But as the Suns are about to see him leave the Valley in free agency, it looks like it is time to hand the torch to a new point guard. Judging by their draft strategy, that’s what Phoenix is prepared to do. On draft night, the Suns used their first round pick on North Carolina’s slick-passing and crafty Kendall Marshall. While his shot is still a work in progress and he is not much of a scorer, Marshall was the engine of the North Carolina offense, he was the best point guard in college basketball a season ago, and he should help the Suns transition smoothly from the Steve Nash era with his ability to make everyone on the court better.
Kendall Marshall joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to talk about how excited he is to be a member of the Suns, how he got the nickname “Butter,” why he enjoys passing so much, whether he plans on working on his shaky shot this offseason, whether he has gotten over the loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament yet, what he thinks about playing in the Suns up-tempo offense and what his goal is his rookie season.
How excited he is to be a member of the Suns:
“I’m extremely excited. Best case scenario. This is exactly where I wanted to be. Feel like a lot of great things can go on here and hopefully get the program back to where it’s been in the past.”
On where he got the nickname “Butter” from:
“It came from a local Boys and Girls Club when I was about 10 or 11. They used to have weekly write ups against the game and one guy just said I was butter for the way I spread the ball and it kind of just stuck after a while.”
Why he enjoys passing so much:
“It’s something I take a lot of pride in. I enjoy passing the ball, I enjoy seeing my teammates when they score and ultimately when guys are scoring it makes us a better team. That’s something I can definitely bring to the table.”
Whether he needs to work on his jumper this offseason:
“Definitely. That’s something I know I can get better at. Just becoming a more consistent shooter so I can take some pressure away from my teammates.”
How often he thinks about the loss in the NCAA Tournament and his injury preventing North Carolina from beating Kansas:
“I think about it every day. I feel like that was a very winnable game for us even when I didn’t play. I feel like we are a much better team when I do play.”
On the Suns up-tempo offense and how he fits with it:
“I’m excited about it. I feel like it’s somewhere I can definitely fit in and help the team out. Getting up and down the court, throwing the ball ahead and just trying to get guys easy shots and making the game fun to watch.”
What his goal is for his rookie season:
“Getting better. That’s the main thing is getting better and ultimately winning games. I want to do whatever it takes to win and if that means I’m stepping in and playing the majority of minutes then that is something that I can adjust to but if I’m learning from a guy like Nash that’s invaluable. You can’t really put a number on that. You just have to take it and run with it.”