One thing that I like to do, and as a blogger need to do, is to surf the net for stories about Carolina. Whether past or present, gridiron or hardwoods, if there is something about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill I love to read about it, and sometimes even write a post on it. Well, today I did not go too far as I found something good about former North Carolina basketball players right here on isportsweb, in article that looks into the “Top 10 impact rookies” for the upcoming NBA campaign.
As we all know there were four Tar Heels taken in last spring’s NBA Draft: small forward Harrison Barnes, picked seventh by the Golden State Warriors, point guard Kendall Marshall, who went to the Phoenix Suns as the 13th pick overall, power forward John Henson, gone the next pick to the Milwaukee Bucks and finally center Tyler Zeller, as the 17th overall pick for the Dallas Mavericks and then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The blog that I read had the first two of the Heels in their Top 10.
4. Harrison Barnes- Golden State Warriors- I wasn’t too surprised to see him slip to number seven in the draft, but I will be surprised if he doesn’t end up one of the top five players in this draft. His complacent nature is a bit worrying, but he does have talent around him at Golden State to spark his interest. This fast paced, free shooting team might be the best case scenario for Barnes.
I agree with the poster that there was no surprise about watching Barnes slide down to the seventh spot, even if it was a head scratcher to see someone like Dion Waiters go before the former Tar Heel. Barnes played best when he had Kendall Marshall running the point, with the Warriors he is going to have Stephen Curry running the floor and the ex Davidson guard should help the forward just as much as the former Tar Heel did.
On this team Barnes will have guards that can hit from the outside and that should give him more open shots on the wings, or space to make his one dribble and shot, which was his best move while in Chapel Hill. Lastly the 20 year old comes into the National Basketball Association with a lot less expectations that he did when he arrived in Chapel Hill. That alone should let the 6’8″/210 lbs wing breath a lot easier now than he did while playing in college.
5. Kendall Marshall- Phoenix Suns- He wasn’t a sexy pick for Phoenix at 13 while Steve Nash was still on the roster, but now that he’s gone it looks like Phoenix drafted their point guard of the present and future. As far as impacts go, being a team’s floor general as a rookie is about as impactful as it gets. I just hope Marshall’s funky shot, and the fact that he needs 10 feet of space to make a field goal won’t drive him and his magnificent vision to the bench.
I have to say that I am not as happy now, knowing that the former floor general for head coach Roy Williams, is going to start, or be in the running for the starting job, for the Suns than when I thought he would be coming off the bench, learning from someone like Nash. There is no doubt Marshall can pass the ball and find the open team mate, the key will be can the 6’4″/195 guard play defense and shoot well enough to keep him as the starter. If not, he could go from a Top 5 rookie to sitting on the bench.
On a blog there is a video about how Marshall knows is following in the tradition of many great point guards, including the last one: two time NBA MVP Steve Nash.
In the end both of these former North Carolina basketball players can easily be very good (to great) at the next level. While I am not saying this is going to happen, barring injuries Barnes could easily be the best rookie not named Anthony Davis. I have said on this blog, as well as many other places, that we did not see the best of the small forward in his two years in Chapel Hill, if I am correct watch out for Mr. Harrison Barnes. On the other hand, while I am not thrilled about Marshall being put into the fire from the get go, he does have the skills to do the job in the NBA. If he can avoid trying too hard and let the game come to him he should be fine. For more information about North Carolina basketball and/or football players, present and/or past, make sure to come back often to isportsweb!