Roy Devyn Marble's road to the NBA Draft: Part 2

BY RYAN PROBASCO | MAY 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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This is Part II of an ongoing series chronicling former Iowa basketball player Devyn Marble and his preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft.

Scouting the game of basketball is a dynamic, multifaceted skill. Unlike baseball’s natural tendency to highlight one-on-one battles, basketball is a bit more complex, because there are several moving parts and details to account for in each play.

If a player is able to get himself in a position to score an easy basket, scouts must identify several underlying factors. Was that the best shot the player/team could create? Who was guarding the scoring player? Were there ball-screens or a set offense that aided the player’s ability to score? Was the play exemplary of a player’s repeatable skill, or did the play flash an unsustainable action?

These are all questions ESPN draft expert Chad Ford must weigh on a daily basis. Since taking over as a draft analyst at the network in 2002, Ford’s insight and scouting expertise has garnered him the reputation as the go-to voice of reason and knowledge on all things NBA draft.

This year on Ford’s big board, former Iowa guard Devyn Marble currently sits at No. 64, which means he’s a borderline second-round pick.

“Marble is one of the most versatile wings in the country but has suffered from ‘doesn’t do any one thing special’ syndrome,” Ford wrote.

But despite not having the draft’s biggest guru in his corner, Iowa’s former leading scorer hasn’t stopped trying to gain the attention and love of NBA teams prior to June’s draft. Workouts have become habit. A well-prepared and focused routine is now a bigger part of Marble’s life than it ever was.

“Going into the combine, I’ll be able to show all the teams on a national scale,” Marble said. “And then after that, I’ll have my individual team workouts where I’ll be evaluated in a more private setting.”

After Fran McCaffery’s short-lived experiment playing Marble at point guard and sophomore Mike Gesell at shooting guard this past season, Marble flourished coming off screens and working his offensive game from the wing.

In 2013-14, Marble averaged a career best 21.1 points per 40 minutes, pace adjusted.

But though it was clear Marble was much better suited playing the off-guard at the collegie level, he doesn’t believe professional teams have given up on his ball handling and ability orchestrate an offense.

“I see myself as a combo guard, but what I’ve been hearing is that a lot of the teams are leaning more toward a point guard,” Marble said. “They like me as a big point guard who can also move over to the 2-guard.”

The success of larger guards in the NBA, plus Marble’s versatility at numerous positions, may catapult him up certain teams’ boards. It’s easy to say he doesn’t do one thing extremely well, but it should count for something that he can do just about everything at a fair-to-high level.

“Marble’s all-around game is hard not to like, and he was ‘the’ guy on a deep team last year. I like his shot-creating ability from anywhere on the court,” SB Nation blogger and former CBS Sports contributor Adam Jacobi said. “He reminds me of Manu Ginobili — unorthodox game, won’t wow you with athleticism, but he gets a free shot all the time anyway, happy to take a jumper in the clutch.

“His size is decent, zero red flags for character, he hustles on both ends of the court, spent time at point, improved all four years in college, young for his level of experience … These are all attractive things.”

On a more technical scale, Marble’s game isn’t the most sound. As previously stated, it’s hard to identify elite skills in his repertoire. And he’s certainly not a specialist at any one component of the game.

“The form on his jump shot is a little bit of a mixed bag,” Derek Bodner, a college basketball scout for DraftExpress.com wrote in a scouting report. “He sports a fairly compact motion and a high release point, but that flare in his elbow we mentioned during our last write-up is still present, which could affect the repeatability of the release and may in part be somewhat to blame for his inconsistent results.”

As of now, there’s no definitive answer or guarantees regarding Marble’s draft chances. If he does in fact receive a shot at the professional level, his degree of success — much like scouting the game — will be a dynamic and complex experience.

Will Marble’s versatility and scoring ability overshadow the fact that he doesn’t have any plus-plus skills? Will he be given the opportunity to mesh in a system that fits his style? Does he possess enough projectable talent?

With more than a month left before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver takes the podium at the NBA draft, no one knows for sure if Marble will be drafted. The only certainty is that he has something to prove and minds to change before anyone calls him a lock.

“How much one believes Marble still has left to improve may lead to some disparity in how he is rated across the league,” Bodner noted in his report. “That being said, his size, versatility, and consistent improvement over the course of his career have placed him firmly on the NBA radar, and it would be very surprising if he didn’t start his career on a NBA roster and given an opportunity to show he has what it takes to carve out a niche.”

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