2012 NBA Draft: Why UNC's Kendall Marshall Is Best Fit for Dallas Mavericks

Rollin YeattsFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 26:  Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels brings the ball up the court against the UNLV Rebels during the championship game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena November 26, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 90-80.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After 19 years of outstanding NBA play, the Dallas Mavericks' Jason Kidd is considering retirement—unless he can help develop a young point guard. Taking former North Carolina Tar Heel Kendall Marshall in the 2012 NBA Draft could be one of the greatest moves Mark Cuban has made for the Dallas franchise.

According to Pro Sports Daily, Kidd had this to say about the possibility of retirement:

"My goal was to get to 20 years, but if I can't compete and help a team or help develop a younger point guard then I have to move aside."

There is no guarantee that Kendall Marshall will drop far enough for Cuban and the Mavs to land the Bob Cousy Award-winning point guard—especially after losing their first-round pick in the Lamar Odom deal. But if he does, it would be an erroneous mistake for Dallas to pass up on the young talent.

Currently, ESPN Insider Chad Ford has Marshall going 18th. That could possibly land him on teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers or the Orlando Magic. All three teams could truly use Marshall and by no means would he be a bad fit for any of them. However, Dallas would give Marshall the opportunity to learn from the best and Kidd would be able to split time at the point—saving him wear and tear in his 20th NBA season.

It would behoove the Mavericks to get back into the first round. Or better yet, find a way to trade the team that drafts him. We recently witnessed such trades being pulled off during the 2011 NBA Draft.

The Dallas Mavericks are just one season removed from an NBA title. They haven't stepped up the way most expected, with their aging group of veterans. What they need to do is continue working in young talent. And considering that Jason Kidd looks to be the first to retire from the squad, filling the point guard position should be the greatest necessity.

In the ACC and NCAA tournaments, we saw Marshall step up and start scoring—something he shied away from during the regular season because of the scoring ability of his fellow Tar Heels and future NBA draftees.

For his career at UNC, the 6'4” 195-pound point guard averaged  7.2 points per game. Before Marshall went down with a fractured wrist, he spent his last six games scoring 14.8 points per game and making 9-of-18 three-pointers.

Not that the biggest knock on Marshall even matters that much with this team. What were Jason Kidd's numbers in the Mavs championship season? He averaged 7.9 points and 8.2 assists per game over 33.2 minutes.

As for Marshall, he averaged 8.1 points and 9.8 assists per game in his sophomore campaign. He also dished out 351 dimes, breaking both the UNC and the ACC season assist records. Marshall hasn't proven to have the shooting ability Kidd has displayed throughout his career, but he seems to be rounding into form.

After all, Kidd wasn't always a marksman, either. In his first three NBA seasons, Kidd struggled, shooting 38 percent from the field and only 31 percent from the arc. That's easy to forget over the 16-year span of greatness that followed those seasons.

There is no denying the vision, passing ability and IQ of North Carolina's latest point guard to enter the draft. Does he have it all together? Not yet, but he is a great NBA point guard in the making, and the Mavs would be fools to pass up on that much talent at the 1.

Just for the fun of it, Marshall would join three other former Tar Heels on the Mavs roster—assuming they are all still there next season. The former Heels include Brendan Haywood, Brandan Wright and Vince Carter. And there I thought it was only the Bobcats that like to stack up on former Heels.

Let's hope that strategy works out better for the Mavericks.

Though North Carolina has a reputation for bringing in highly-touted point guards that don't perform in the NBA, that doesn't seem to be the case of late. Former Bob Cousy Award-winners Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton have proven their worth at the NBA level—more so Lawson than Felton. There is no reason to think Marshall won't experience the same success.

The Mavericks and Jason Kidd are exactly what Kendall Marshall needs. And Marshall is exactly what the Mavs need to fill the void of Kidd when he retires.


Check out this Kendall Marshall highlight reel, too.