“I Can Honestly Say I Changed The Game” | Shawn Marion Says He Was The Original Small Ball 5

Former NBA player Shawn Marion believes he helped usher in the modern game we see today with small ball centers and position-less basketball. During his time as a member of the Phoenix Suns and then head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s “7 seconds or less” offense Marion was doing some incredible things. But did he change the game?

“I can honestly say I changed the game. I was a big part of changing the game, what we’re watching right now,” Marion said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal this month. “Small ball. Positionless basketball. It was challenging, of course. I wasn’t on board with it at first. I’m 6-foot-7, 230 pounds. You’ve got me guarding 7-footers. That wasn’t an easy adjustment. But I did it. We did it. It is what it is now. It’s what everybody’s doing now.”

Shawn Marion Was A Very Good Player

First, let’s be fair to the man nicknamed “The Matrix.” He was a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, and won a championship as a member of the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. For his career he scored over 17,000 points and grabbed more than 10,000 rebounds.

He had some very excellent seasons on offense in Phoenix while tasked with guarding some of the greatest power forwards and bigs of all-time. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki to name a few.

Now you might not look at it as Marion himself changing the league, but the innovative system of D’Antoni and Marion’s versatility called for a different kind of player.

In today’s NBA how many truly lumbering, burly, plodding centers are there? Maybe one, in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, and he’s not exactly slow.

Marion’s Versatility And The Phoenix Suns’ Style Changed The League

The game today calls for lots of long, quick, fast-twitch players who can guard multiple positions. Seven-footers who can get switched out onto someone on the perimeter and not get completely embarrassed.

Marion was among the first of this kind of player who had a multitude of skills that allowed his team to play differently because of his Swiss army knife ability and size.

The Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA championship with 6-foot9 Kevon Looney and 6-foot6 Draymond Green playing all of the minutes at the 5 spot.

The game has changed and Marion’s unique ability played a part in it.

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