Shawn “The Matrix” Marion, who possesses one of the best nicknames in the 21st century, played the game in his own unique way. His skill set and his versatility set him apart from his peers.
Appearing on a recent episode of Howard Beck’s “The Full 48,” Marion weighs in on number of topics. He’s currently a part-owner of the New Zealand Breakers, and has high hopes for Australia’s NBL to raise its profile and build a better league in the future.
Here’s the episode summary as it appears online: “Four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, and NBA Champion, Shawn Marion, discusses RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball, and the NBL as a potential stepping stone to the NBA. He also shares his thoughts on Lonzo and LaMelo Ball as unique players, and their similarities to Luka Doncic. Shawn talks about his own career including his 2008 trade to the Miami Heat for Shaq, his run with the Phoenix Suns, and the 2011 Finals and what it took to shut down LeBron James. Plus, he shares his feelings about his own Hall of Fame eligibility.”
A few of the many interesting segments on the podcast include:
*Marion on Lonzo Ball and Luka Doncic: “Lonzo Ball, I think he has his own, it’s like Luka, they have their own way, they have their own momentum, their own drive, whatever. They have their own pace. … Watching Luka, you cannot speed him up and his sense of court awareness is amazing. And he has another gear he can go. When takes that challenge, he loves that challenge.”
Marion also said that Lonzo and LaMelo Ball both know “how to control the tempo of the game.”
“Is there something special with Luka and (Kristaps) Porzingis?” Beck asked Marion, referring to the team’s re-emergence as a Western Conference playoff-caliber club with the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“Hell, yeah,” he responded with a laugh. “I mean, it’s kind of (hard) not to be excited about it when you’re watching him.”
Doncic impresses Marion
*Additional Marion thoughts on Doncic: “Luka is doing something like right now. … If you was to have an MVP vote right now, he’d have to be in the top three right now candidates for MVP this season. There’s no way of denying it. He’s doing something that’s unbelievable right now for his age…”
Marion continued: “Listen, for a young guy to be that poised on the floor, like, and that confident in a young player is very rare. He has a killer mentality right now. I literally watched him play last year. I watched a game last year. I was, like, ‘Did he really just do that?’ ”
“When was the last time you saw a rookie that made your jaw drop the way that you just described?” Beck inquired.
“Oh my gosh,” Marion said.
“With the ability he has, I don’t think I’ve seen one. I’ve seen a lot of guys with confidence. It’s the difference about having the confidence and the ability to do what he’s able to do on the floor. That’s the difference. A lot of guys are confident and arrogant when they come in. They (think) they are so good and sh– until they get a reality check, and they are playing against some guys that can bust their ass at any time they want. It’s a different mentality, different story then.”
He added: “But to be able to go out there and be as confident as he is in his game and to be able to show it at the level that he is — oh no, I ain’t never seen it.”
Continuing his analysis of Doncic, Marion also declared: “He basically can average a triple-double right now if he wants to.”
Marion’s views of his career
In a career that spanned from 1999 to 2015 with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, Marion played the majority of his games with the Suns (609) and Mavericks (361). Marion posted career highs in points (44), rebounds (24), steals (8) and blocks (6).
“Is there anybody in the league that you see now that gives like the vague outline of a Shawn Marion?” Beck asked.
“I actually don’t,” Marion replied. “I’ve mentioned a few guys here and there before, but no because, you know, what I was able to do and how I was able to do it at the time in the league when it was the most dominant position in the league at the time was big men with centers and power forwards. Like anybody at my size, and none of these guys in the league right now currently can do what I did on a regular night-in, night-out basis. They can’t guard those guys. There’s no way. Because the game was more physical then, more it was more physicality…”
Hall of Fame question
Should Shawn Marion be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
The versatile forward averaged 15.2 points and 8.7 rebounds as a pro. He impacted the game as a lock-down defender and always came up with blocks and steals.
Beck mentioned a thought-provoking September article written by Micah Adams as a good argument for why Marion should be chosen for the Hall of Fame.
Key passage: “His 2005-06 season is one of the forgotten, truly great individual campaigns. Everyone remembers it for (Steve) Nash winning his second straight MVP award while leading the Suns to 54 (wins) despite Amar’e Stoudemire missing almost the entire season. Nobody seems to remember that Marion was spectacular in his own right, averaging career highs in points (21.8) and rebounds (11.8), and playing over 40 minutes a night en route to finishing in the top 10 in both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year voting.
“Marion did absolutely everything and over a five-year span, which included that stint with the two-time MVP and averaging over 20 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and one block per game. Want to know how many other players in NBA history have ever done that over a five-year period?
“One. Hakeem Olajuwon. That’s it.”
What was Shawn Marion’s reaction to that example being brought up during the podcast?
“Listen, the numbers don’t lie,” Marion said. “I’m one of the four or five guys that only have a certain amount of points, rebounds, blocks and steals. Like, it’s crazy…”