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Taking a Pass on Donyell Marshall

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As many of our readers have noted over the last couple of days, the nameless folks over in Oklahoma City waived forward Donyell Marshall this week.

Because Marshall is a veteran player with a solid character record, and because he has a fair bit of playoff experience and was recently part of a team that went to the Finals, he understandably has received some buzz as a possible acquisition for the Celtics.

But while the initial intrigue is understandable, actually signing him would not be.  The Celtics' roster certainly has some questions at this point, but Donyell Marshall doesn't answer many of them.

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The biggest question marks - and for the less optimistic, needs - the Celts have right now are centered on the back-up small forward spot and the bigs off the bench.  Sadly, Marshall splits the middle and adds help in neither spot.

At 6-foot-9 and 218 pounds, Marshall is an undersized power forward.  As verified by the invaluable folks over at, he has played almost exclusively power forward over the last couple of seasons in particular.  He doesn't have the size, strength or the style to really bang around as a center, which makes him relatively unnecessary as far as the front line is concerned.  The Celtics already have two young bigs on the shorter side in Leon Powe and the Infuriated Infant, and both are only expected to develop further and thus see more minutes this season.  Having Marshall as a reserve four then doesn't seem all that useful, and it definitely wouldn't make sense to bring him in with the expectation that he will take minutes in the pivot.

As far as providing help at the three is concerned, memory is not serving well this morning, so I'm not sure exactly how capable Donyell Marshall ever was as a defender on the wings.  What seems considerably more evident - and pertinent - is that the current 35-year-old Donyell Marshall is not going to provide what the Celts need at the three defensively.  He hasn't played consistent minutes at the three at any point in the last few years, his quickness has all but completely eroded, and his teams have been worse defensively with him on the court than off it in recent seasons.  Not inspiring stuff there.

On the offensive end, Marshall's modus operandi for most of his career has been that he adds outside shooting.  In each of his last four seasons, more than half of his field-goal attempts have come from behind the arc.  The problem is that since the first year of that run, he has been consistently poor from deep.  After shooting 41.6 percent from deep in 2003-04, Marshall has shot 32.4, 35.1 and 28.3 percent from distance in the three following seasons.  He is only a 34.8 percent long-range shooter for his career, and his true shooting is a not-so-mind-blowing 51.5 percent.  The guy isn't all that efficient, and it appears that his biggest offensive asset has deserted him over the past few seasons. 

Donyell Marshall does have a reputation as a good locker room guy, and there is no doubt nothing wrong with having another veteran presence around, but this one isn't the guy to bring in for this Celtics team.  He isn't an interior player offensively, doesn't shoot the ball that well anymore and wouldn't provide much help for the Celtics on either end of the floor at the three or the five.  Maintaining patience and looking for another player to help fill the roster space seems like the way to go here.


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