Shawn Marion, one of the best players in Suns history, will retire at the end of this season, in news that was first broken by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic on Wednesday.
The forward told the Suns beat writer of his decision when his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were in Phoenix earlier this month.
"When the Suns drafted Marion in 1999, Marion set a goal to play 15 seasons. The 36-year-old believes he could play another three seasons but being away from his first child, 8-month-old Shawn, has convinced him to retire after this season with the Cavaliers."
"“I wanted to go out on my terms,” Marion said. “The biggest thing is having a son. I got attached to him. Seeing him periodically is hard. Watching him grow up on pictures and videos is hard.”"
In the final season of his career, Marion is clearly a shell of his former self. In 39 games so far this season with the Cavs, the Matrix is averaging 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists while getting just under 23 minutes per contest.
The former UNLV product will of course be best remembered for his years in a Suns uniform. Drafted ninth overall during that draft in 1999, Marion spent the first nine years of his career in Phoenix.
Marion is at the top of most of the franchise’s statistical categories. Here’s a breakdown of those stats along with his placement in Suns history.
"Career Games Played – 660, sixthMinutes Play – 24,948, secondField Goals Made – 4,879, thirdThree-Point Field Goals Made – 652, fourthFree Throws Made – 1,724, 10thTotal Rebounds – 6,616, secondSteals – 1,245, secondBlocks – 894, thirdPoints – 12,134, fourthWin Shares – 93.2, firstValue Over Replacement Player, 38.0, first"
As you can see, Marion’s numbers speak for themselves. You can easily make the argument that he is one of the three best players in Suns history.
There were a couple of things that made Marion’s game so unique.
First off, he never had a play called for him on offense. For most of his time with the Suns, the ball was dominated by the two-man game of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, but Marion still found a way to put up numbers night in and night out.
One of the things that I’ll always remember about him was how ugly his shot was. He had a funky delivery, but still managed to shoot at a high percentage. Marion shot 48 percent from the field, a very good number from a guy who was an undersized power forward for most of his time in Phoenix.
Marion was also a very unique defender in that he guarded the opponents best player on pretty much every night. One night, it could be a point guard like Tony Parker and the very next night, it could have been a big guy like Dirk Nowitzki. Several players had him as the best versatile defender in the league for years.
With Marion calling it quits after this year, the Suns should do the smart thing by putting him in the Ring of Honor come the beginning of next season. What he brought on both ends of the court for so many years makes him one of the all-time greatest members of this franchise.
Marion never received the full recognition that he rightfully deserved during his time in Phoenix, thanks to his teammates Nash and Stoudemire, who had the more sexy overall games. Giving Marion this honor would make up for that.