Among the least enviable jobs in sports is being the player
counted on to turn the Golden State Warriors around. Just ask
Chris Webber, who spent one miserable season with the Warriors
before finding happiness and All-Star Game appearances elsewhere.
Or ask human punch line Joe Barry Carroll, who became the
standard by which bad draft picks are measured. Or ask Donyell
Marshall. In February 1995 the Warriors traded forward Tom
Gugliotta to the Timberwolves for the 6'9" Marshall, the fourth
pick in the '94 draft, who arrived at Golden State with a fat
contract (nine years, $42.6 million) and a midsection to match.
While Googs was blossoming into, yes, an All-Star, Marshall was
becoming a lightning rod for criticism, averaging 5.5 and 7.3
points in his first two full seasons at Golden State.
Though Marshall's numbers did improve, the Warriors' fortunes did
not. He couldn't even bring his three sons to a Chuck E. Cheese
in the Bay Area without some fan taking a break from his game of
skee ball to tell him what a bum he was. About the closest thing
to a compliment to come Marshall's way was a headline in the Oct.
17, 1999, San Francisco Examiner: HIGH-PRICED FORWARD WAS
UNWANTED, BUT HE MAY PROVE TO BE A RELATIVE BARGAIN.
Now, after a nine-player, four-team trade, Marshall has left
Golden State to join a team with two of the 50 greatest players
ever. Thanks to Karl Malone and John Stockton, no one in Utah
views Marshall as much more than a 27-year-old role player who
might be able to help the Jazz get past the second round of the
playoffs for the first time since 1998. By playing small forward
and allowing swingman Bryon Russell to move to the two, Marshall
can help fill the void at shooting guard created by Jeff
Hornacek's retirement. He'll also spell the 37-year-old Malone at
power forward and give Utah some much-needed size. The Jazz
pulled down 1.9 fewer rebounds per game than the league average
last season; Marshall averaged 10.0 and, in scoring 14.2 points,
was one of just eight players to average a double double.
"Rebound, defend a little bit, shoot the open shot," says coach
Jerry Sloan of Marshall's role. "In the past, in games we've had
to win, we've had to go with a small lineup, and hopefully he'll
help us out there."
"I'm gonna do a little bit of this, a little bit of that,"
Marshall says. "Everything's going to go through Karl and John.
Everybody knows that."
Everybody has known that for 15 years, and nobody has been able
to do much about it. But having Stockton, the league's alltime
leader in assists and steals, and Malone, its third alltime
leading scorer, doesn't come cheap. Their $27 million in salaries
this year consumes a lot of cap room, so the Jazz struggled in
the off-season to surround them with quality players. With the
clock ticking on the two future Hall of Famers, Utah opted for
veterans who could help immediately, such as 12th-year forward
Danny Manning and 11th-year man John Starks, who will start at
Aside from rookie shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson, a 19-year-old
first-round pick from Washington Union High in Fresno, Marshall
is Utah's only new player who is not on the downside of his
career. Whether the Jazz will build around him in the
post-Stockton-and-Malone era depends on whether he shows he has
grown up. "There was a time when things came easy to me," says
Marshall. "Even in college I didn't work out that much in the
summer. Once [after my rookie year] I came to camp out of shape,
and it took its toll on me for two years, but in that time I
learned a lot. I learned I really love the game. Every year, I
think I've progressed."
Given the state of the Warriors, learning what not to do was
about as much as could have been expected of Marshall. But now,
for the first time in his pro career, he is surrounded by players
from whom he can learn what to do. "We have a lot of fun here,"
Marshall says. "We say hi to each other. In Golden State, nobody
John Stockton, who has played 1,258 games for the Jazz, enters
this season 12 games behind John Havlicek's NBA record of 1,270
games with one team. Karl Malone is 66 games behind Stockton,
STARTERS 1999-2000 KEY STATS
SF Bryon Russell 14.1 ppg 5.2 rpg 1.9 apg 1.56 spg 44.6 FG%
PF Karl Malone 25.5 ppg 9.5 rpg 3.7 apg 0.96 spg 50.9 FG%
C Olden Polynice 5.3 ppg 5.5 rpg 1.02 bpg 51.0 FG% 31.1 FT%
SG John Starks 13.9 ppg 4.9 apg 2.7 rpg 37.5 FG% 34.5 3FG%
PG John Stockton 12.1 ppg 8.6 apg 1.74 spg 50.1 FG% 35.5 3FG%
BENCH 1999-2000 KEY STATS
F Donyell Marshall 14.2 ppg 10.0 rpg 1.06 spg 1.06 bpg 39.4 FG%
F Danny Manning 4.6 ppg 2.9 rpg 1.0 apg 0.86 spg 44.0 FG%
G Jacque Vaughn 3.7 ppg 1.6 apg 0.8 rpg 41.6 FG% 41.2 3FG%
G Quincy Lewis 3.8 ppg 1.5 rpg 37.2 FG% 36.5 3FG% 73.1 FT%
C Greg Ostertag 4.5 ppg 6.0 rpg 2.12 bpg 46.4 FG% 63.6 FT%
New acquisition (R) Rookie (statistics for final college year)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 113)
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Jazz
"We're still talking about 50-plus wins for the Jazz. Utah has
enough left to make things interesting against the Blazers,
Lakers and Spurs....Forget Karl Malone's age. He could lose a
step and still be one of the premier players....Everybody says
you can go at John Stockton, but the Jazz knows you're trying to
exploit his defense, and the players don't stand around and let
you do it. They know how to rotate and take things away....Don't
underestimate how much it hurts them to lose two solid role
players, Shandon Anderson and Harold Eisley, in back-to-back
years. For a team that relies on execution instead of
athleticism, guys who have had some years in the system are very
hard to replace....If you want to know how much John Starks has
left, don't watch his shooting, watch his defense. He used to be
one of the best at trailing guys off screens and recovering in
time to get up and pressure them. He didn't do it with the
Warriors last year, but that may have been a lack of intensity
rather than a physical thing."