PHOENIX (AP) — Kendall Marshall isn't the most athletic player, doesn't exactly shoot the lights out from the perimeter.
He turned out to be just what the Phoenix Suns were looking for in the NBA draft.
After being wowed by Marshall's heady play in two seasons at North Carolina and two do-everything-right visits to Phoenix, the Suns selected the pass-first point guard with the No. 13 pick in the draft Thursday night.
"I can tell you now, we did not get Kendall for his athleticism and Kendall knows that," Suns general manager Lance Blanks said. "We got him for his brain, his ability to make people better, who he is off the court, for our locker room. He is in perfect alignment with what we want to be about with people and as an organization."
After missing the playoffs the past two seasons, the Suns' most glaring need was perimeter shooting.
But with Steve Nash set to become a free agent on Saturday and Connecticut shooting guard Jeremy Lamb going to Houston the pick before, Marshall was clearly the man for the Suns.
A superb passer with good size at 6-foot-4, Marshall is a player who makes good decisions — he was among the nation's best players in assist-to-turnover ratio his two college seasons — and should be a good fit for Phoenix's up-tempo style after leading the Tar Heels up and down the floor in Chapel Hill.
"We are ecstatic," Blanks said. "Looking at our board and who was there at the 13th pick, that was the guy we were targeting all along."
Marshall looks like a good pick for the Suns whether Nash returns to the desert or not.
Nash becomes a free agent on Saturday and has numerous teams interested in signing him. Even if he does come back, Nash is 38 and point guards often need a season or two of seasoning before becoming adept at running an NBA team. What better way to learn to run the point than from a two-time league MVP?
If Nash does opt to sign somewhere else, the Suns have a player in Marshall who could be their point guard of the future, a proven winner who has the size and mindset to have success right away.
"Kendall represents where we are as an organization," Blanks said. "Don't read too far into it as far as free agency, but he represents everything we want to be about in a player and a person. But most importantly, if you look back in his history, he's a winner, and that's exactly what we want to be here, winners."
Marshall won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard after finishing second in the country with 9.8 assists last year as a sophomore. His 351 assists were the fourth-highest total in NCAA history and he led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.5.
With Marshall at the point, North Carolina was one of the favorites to win last season's national title. His value became apparent when the Tar Heels fell short, losing to Kansas in the NCAA tournament's regional final — two games after Marshall broke his hand in the third round against Creighton.
Marshall says he has recovered from the injury and impressed Phoenix's front office in his two pre-draft workouts in the desert.
"He is just a wonderful human being who will make the guys around him better," Blanks said. "This young man is special in every way. I'm sure we can make him more athletic, but he's all 10s everywhere else."
No. 1 Anthony Davis, Kentucky: New Orleans Hornets
No. 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky: Charlotte Bobcats
No. 3 Bradley Beal, Florida: Washington Wizards
No. 4 Dion Waiters, Syracuse: Cleveland Cavaliers
No. 5 Thomas Robinson, Kansas: Sacramento Kings
No. 6 Damian Lillard, Weber State: Portland Trail Blazers
No. 7 Harrison Barnes, UNC: Golden State Warriors
No. 8 Terrence Ross, Washington: Toronto Raptors
No. 9 Andre Drummond, UConn: Detroit Pistons
No. 10 Austin Rivers, Duke: New Orleans Hornets
No. 11 Meyers Leonard, Illinois: Portland Trail Blazers
No. 12 Jeremy Lamb, UConn: Houston Rockets
No. 13 Kendall Marshall, UNC: Phoenix Suns
No. 14 John Henson, UNC: Milwaukee Bucks
No. 15 Moe Harkless, St. John's: Philadelphia 76ers
No. 16 Royce White, Iowa State: Houston Rockets
No. 17 Tyler Zeller, UNC: Cleveland Cavaliers
<a href="https://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/218512366365704192" target="_hplink">ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH DALLAS</a>
No. 18 Terrence Jones, Kentucky: Houston Rockets
No. 19 Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure: Orlando Magic
No. 20 Evan Fournier, France: Denver Nuggets
No. 21 Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: Boston Celtics
No. 22 Fab Melo, Syracuse: Boston Celtics
No. 23 John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Atlanta Hawks
No. 24 Jared Cunningham, Oregon State: Dallas Mavericks
ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH CLEVELAND
No. 25 Tony Wroten, Washington: Memphis Grizzlies
No. 26 Miles Plumlee, Duke: Indiana Pacers
No. 27 Arnett Moultrie, Miss. State: Philadelphia 76ers
ACQUIRED VIA TRADE WITH MIAMI
No. 28 Perry Jones III, Baylor: OKC Thunder
No. 29 Marquis Teague, Kentucky: Chicago Bulls
No. 30 Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt: Golden State Warriors