I've been a long-time Pacers fan from Guyana so imagine my delight that the first player in the NBA to hail from Guyana, Rawle Marshall, ended up with the Pacers. I've seen him play for Dallas and he certainly has scoring skills. His preseason scoring has not surprised me but has his stock improved enough to crack the roster? (From Varunesh in Kingston, Jamaica)
A. Marshall is one of two players that have really played themselves up the depth chart, and both are former Dallas players acquired in the Darrell Armstrong trade; the other is, of course, Josh Powell. Entering camp, even though he had impressed the staff in workouts, I figured Marshall didn't have much chance of making the roster because at 6-7, 190 pounds, he has virtually the same profile as another ex-Maverick, Marquis Daniels, and prized draft acquisition James White.
While Daniels has played just four preseason minutes due to a hamstring strain and White has struggled with the adjustment to the NBA, Marshall has looked right at home. He leads the team in minutes (33 per game) and has averaged 10.0 points on 50 percent shooting. A respectable mid-range shooter with a nose for the basket, Marshall also has proven capable of getting to the line and converting, going 20-of-25. All of which is impressive enough, but it's important to remember this is a guy who's specialty is defense, and he hasn't disappointed there. He's just a very smooth, fluid player that looks like he belongs in the NBA.
Powell has exploded in the last two games, racking up 32 points and 13 rebounds while recovering from the flu. A rugged power forward with deceptive athleticism, Powell is one of those guys willing to give up his body for the good of the team. There's a quiet perseverance about him, as well; he's kind of the strong, silent type. Heading into camp, I figured he had at least an even chance of making it if he played well because the Pacers had a need for another big body. Powell definitely has that, and his ability to hit the 15-foot jumper fits nicely, as well.
Three important preseason games remain and it will be extremely important for Marshall and Powell to continue to perform well. To this point, though, they've done exactly what players in their circumstances must in training camp and the preseason. They've made themselves extremely difficult to cut. In order to find a way to keep both, the Pacers would have to get pretty creative with their roster decisions. It seems pretty clear, if they had their druthers, the Pacers would find some way to make sure both Marshall and Powell are around for opening night – and well beyond.