As we head towards the 2013 NBA Draft, it is time to give some looks at players who are may or may not get drafted, but may have the skills which could translate to a NBA career. The Case For….takes a look at these players and tries to give a brief outline of what skills they have, what they are missing, and what steps would eventually lead them to the to the NBA. This edition looks at a player who has made a name with his shot-blocking ability, but has developed into an efficient offensive player as well – Akron’s Zeke Marshall.
Photo:John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer
Zeke Marshall, Akron, Senior, 7’0, 235
13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.7 bpg
65.1 FG%, 64.2 FT%, 66.1 TS%, 65.5 eFG%
13.6 BLK%, 14.4 REB%, 10.3 OREB%, 18.4 DREB%
The Good – Marshall showed improvement each year during his 4 seasons at Akron, and there still seems room before he reaches his ceiling. Marshall is incredibly efficient around the basket, having a nice touch and not forcing many bad shots. He has developed a nice mini hook in the lane, able to make the move over either shoulder and shoot it with either hand. Marshall has also improved his ability to face-up and hit the short or mid-range jumper. A strong screener on the perimeter, Marshall understands the pick-and-roll well and does a good job setting a good screen and opening up to the ball. On the defensive side, Marshall has good defensive awareness and is a strong shot-blocker. He does a well extending on the shot and can block shots with either hand. Marshall also does a good job going strong after rebounds in his area and keeping the ball up high after he secures it.
The Not So Good – Marshall is long and lean, but he needs to continue to build strength to handle the rigors of the NBA post-game. Marshall needs to do a better job using his lower body to get position in the post on the offensive end, and to anchor his position on the defensive end. His post moves have developed significantly during the past few seasons, but there is still some work to do, especially using secondary moves if the first move has been stopped. Marshall also has to become more confident in his mid-range jumper, not hesitating to take it if he has a good look. Along with this, he needs to work on improving his free throw shooting, while getting to the line more. While Marshall is a good shot-blocker, he has to watch a tendency to not go straight up and making contact with his body. Also, he has to work on hedging harder on high pick-and-rolls, making the ballhandler work if he wants to get around the corner and not retreating to his man so quickly.
The Verdict – Though development has been steady, Marshall never took the big leap that many may have hoped. Still, he is a 7-footer who is efficient on offense and is a good defender and shot-blocker. Also, a lot of his offense suffered because he just wasn’t getting the ball enough in good situations. Strength and quickness will still need to be improved, but with the right team, Marshall can become a valuable role player. I think Marshall is being undervalued right now, and I think he would be a quality good pick in the mid- 2nd round (42-49) range.
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