Draft preview: Kendall Marshall

Third in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

The Mavs have needs across the board, so after looking at a power forward on the first day of this series and followed by a 7-foot-1 center, we now get our first look at a point guard.

The position is in total flux at the moment and will be even after the draft. Free agency begins July 1 and that's when the franchise's future will become clearer. Will Deron Williams be this club's starter for the foreseeable future? Will Jason Kidd back him up? Has the team lost hope that Rodrigue Beaubois would ascend to that position?

If Dallas decides that a point guard is their best option at No. 17, is that a sign they are not confident in landing Williams?

So many questions with no answers at the moment.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:


School: North Carolina (2 years)

Position: PG

Age: 20

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-4/198

2011-12 stats: 8.1 ppg, 9.8 apg, 2.8 TOpg

Why he would fit: The cerebral point guard many consider to be in the mold of Kidd would give Dallas insurance at the position if it fails to land Williams in free agency and hold onto Kidd. Marshall worked out for the team in Dallas last week. If the Mavs do sign Williams and keep Kidd, then Marshall would learn from two of the best with an eye on becoming Williams' backup when Kidd finally calls it a career in a season or two.

Why he wouldn't fit: The Mavs need quickness and athleticism in the backcourt and Marshall, although he has good size, does not possess the foot speed to keep up with the plethora of super-quick point guards in the league, starting to the north with Russell Westbrook and to the south with Tony Parker.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- One of the best passers in college basketball. ... Sees the floor exceptionally well. ... High basketball IQ. ... Pure point guard, always looking to set others up. ... Good size for his position, strong. ... Improving shooter. Down -- Not an explosive athlete. ... Lacks great lateral quickness.

Coop's comment: If you enjoy watching Kidd’s style of point guard play, then you’ll fall in love with Marshall. There is no better passer in this draft than Marshall. In the Mavericks' “Push” offense, getting it up the floor with the pass is essential, more so than by the dribble. That’s Marshall’s game. He always seems to know exactly where to put the pass to give his teammate the best chance to make a play. His shooting has been suspect, but in the last six games he played before breaking his wrist in the NCAA Tournament, He averaged nearly 15 points a game, shooting 58.3 percent from the floor and 9-of-18 from 3-point range. Defensively, there are questions about his lateral quickness, the thought being he needs a rim defender behind him.

Previous prospects

Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Meyers Leonard, Illinois