I might be biased but I feel that a great passing play is the most elegant, gratifying, and difficult to defend play in the game. That opinion stated, I can't help but root for the Blazer's to pick one of the two pure passing point guards available in this draft. Exceptional passing point guards are so rare in the NBA. I can count anywhere from two to maybe five depending on how you define the argument. This draft is fortunate to have two in of itself.
First, the case for Marshall. The most convincing argument was that North Carolina went from title favorite to inept after his injury. This is the ultimate value of a passing point guard. To make the rest of the team convincingly better. If you judge the four Carolina first round draft picks based on how much impact each has on a team, Marshall wins hands down.
Machado led the NCAA in assists per game, just edging out Marshall. I Didn't watch Iona much, probably like most. In the highlights Iona was getting easy look after easy look off of Machado passes. He comes with a good jump shot, he's physical, and he carries himself like he's possessed with the ghost of Brandon Roy, poise and all.
Marshall has the edge in height. Both lack the athleticism of a Rajon Rondo. They probably won't break defenders down or defend like Rondo. In the highlights it looks like Machado has good defensive anticipation. I can see both these point guards developing effective floaters in the NBA and they both will be able to space the floor better than Rondo with there shooting. Defensively a high basketball IQ is a key to being an exceptional team defender. Even Roy at the end of his career, when he couldn't defend one on one, was really good at rotations, communication, and organizing a functional team defense. I would think both Machado and Marshall possess this potential.
I know the Blazers want to aquire a veteran and I get that. They don't want to take the time for development. But the reality is there isn't going to be a veteran available that can pass like these two, short of Steve Nash. I can't help but imagine how much damage Aldridge, Hickson, and even Batum could do with a pure passing point guard. If they happen to get Drummond in the draft, that's one more rim rattler that will need someone to get him the ball. Or I can't help imagine how much easier it would be for the shooters to catch an on target pass in rhythm and shoot. Or how engaged the whole team would be running the break or cutting off the ball, knowing the pass will be there if they get an edge.
With so many draft picks, and the draft possessing two great passing point guards, and the Blazers in need of a point guard for the past decade, I would love to see the Blazer's get one of these guys. As it stands now I would think Marshall would be the leading candidate because of where he is projected to go and the Blazer's draft position. I doubt Machado falls to one of the Blazer's second round picks.
Does anyone else want to see the Blazer's have a great passer playing the point?