Prior to the beginning of the season, I’ve preached on multiple posts on this site that I believe Kendall Marshall deserves the back-up spot behind Goran Dragic, and it’s clear through the 1st two games that I’m right.
Now before I explain why, I want to say that Telfair has done a great job as he’s always being aggressive, constantly pressuring the opposing player and be an absolute blood hound 24/7. However Telfair’s inability to perform the true job of a point guard which is running a team is crystal clear.
For the second straight game in the 1st half, as soon as Telfair entered the game the Suns offense began to stink up the place. Telfair just simply doesn’t excel at getting his teammates the ball where they need it.
Telfair has played 25 minutes so far into the season and he’s only dished out 1 assist. When Telfair replaced Goran Dragic in last night’s game against the Pistons with 1:13 left in the 1st quarter, the Suns were trailing 21-25 and at the 8:11 mark in the 2nd quarter the Suns trailed 39-28.
Under Telfair last night, the Suns scored only 7 points in almost 5 minutes of play and two of those points came off Shannon Brown’s impression of Kobe Bryant hitting an off the dribble fall away 21 foot jumper.
Yes I know when Telfair stepped off the court the Suns were only trailing 4 points after a fancy reserve layup by Telfair but keep in mind Scola checked in at the 7:33 mark and scored 5 quick points.
In the game against the Warriors, Telfair checked in for Goran Dragic at the 1:07 mark in the 1st quarter when the Suns trailed 19-23. By the time Dragic checked back in at the 9:09 mark in the 2nd quarter the lead had exploded to 38-23 in favor of the Warriors. I mean I don’t even have to explain that, that right there is pretty self-explanatory.
Telfair was great last year, backing up Steve Nash but a big reason why was because he was the polar opposite of Nash in terms of being a basketball player. Telfair brought with him a nasty, aggressive, attacking, New York playground style of basketball that Nash clearly doesn’t play with which I believe is ultimately what allowed Telfair to be so effective.
Now he’s backing up Goran Dragic, a point guard who actually plays a lot like Telfair. Both guys play with aggressiveness, hustle, and energy. I believe that right now is hurting Telfair, because the opponents guarding Telfair the same way they’d guard Dragic as opposed to last season when opposing defenders had to make a huge adjustment between guarding Steve Nash and guarding Telfair. When at times opponents weren’t able to make that kind of adjustment during the course of the game, it made Sebastian Telfair that much more effective.
Granted it’s only two games into the season but Telfair has never been good at running a
team, which is reflected in his career average of 0.163 assist per minute; that’s 1 assist every 6 minutes. The Suns have been resilient and have been able to comeback in two straight games from double digit deficits and was able to even win one of those games but Alvin Gentry needs to put Kendall Marshall out there. Marshall may not be the defender or energy player that Telfair is but Marshall will be able to run the team. Marshall will be able to get guys the ball and keep the ball rolling when Dragic sits down.
The Suns are leaving the valley to go on their annual road trip to the east and will play their back to back against the new look Orlando Magic and the defending champion Miami Heat. Should the Suns want to sneak into the playoffs this year they can’t dig themselves a big hole in the first half as they have the first two games of the season; they’re not going to be successful that way.
I believe Telfair will have the back-up point guard job for now but a couple more games like the first two, Marshall WILL replace him and Marshall WILL do a much better job running the offense.