The Knicks and Spurs both made NBA D-League headlines this week by sending key contributors Amar'e Stoudemire and Kawhi Leonard to their respective affiliates for rehab work.
Though the big names produce the most eye-popping headlines, it's still been some of the league's youngest and promising prospects that have been putting in the most cumulative time and effort. The likes of Kendall Marshall (with the Bakersfield Jam via the Suns) and Kevin Murphy and Tyler Honeycutt (both with the Reno Bighorns via the Jazz and Kings, respectively), have all spent the past few weeks continuously donning a minor league jersey.
But make no mistake, their NBA teams are not simply stashing them down in the D-League. Instead, the big league squads have given each prospect specific things to work on and conquer, and have subsequently monitored their respective progress.
Former NBA guard and current Suns' Player Development Coordinator Lindsay Hunter has watched Marshall up close during his assignment, and after showing promise, it appears as though the young stud will soon re-join the NBA group.
Hunter also alluded to the fact that while there's reason to be excited about Marshall's potential, he still has a long way to go. Displaying some savvy playmaking abilities, the guard currently is tied for first in the NBADL with 7.4 assists per game.
A true floor general of sorts, Marshall has worked hard during his first D-League stint to find his teammates in the right spots and create offensive opportunities for all. That said, his turnover numbers are quite high, at 3.5 per contest.
While such a statistic may seem like a cause for concern to some, Hunter isn't all too worried. The former NBA journeyman even cited the likes of Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Mark Jackson as point guards who average (or averaged) high turnovers as well, in relation to the Suns' rookie's development.
Hunter further believes that it's Marshall's crafty nature with the ball, and boldness to take risks on the court, that attributes to his turnover number. It's certainly positive that the young gun doesn't lack confidence, but when is the line drawn between being too overzealous, and opting to play smart and within one's means? Even with that question in mind, however, this is clearly an experimental period for Marshall to figure out what works best on the court.
Though Marshall has shown promise when it comes to his court vision, Hunter also went on to tell ArizonaSports.com that the rookie will need to continue pushing himself if he wants to improve even more. Marshall has struggled from the field, and furthermore, has looked tentative with regard to driving to the hoop and finishing under the basket. He'll need to become more aggressive and assert himself more as a scorer, in order to make his offensive game a bit more versatile.
For more on Marshall's development, check out Bright Side of the Sun here on SB Nation.
UPDATE: For a further examination of Marshall's transition into the NBA (or his struggles thus far), readers can also go here.