No player in NBA history played fewer minutes in a 10-year-plus career that Sean Marks did: 2,275 minutes in 230 games over 11 seasons. Think about that. That's an average of only 200 minutes in 20 games per year. And one third of those minutes came in one season, in 2008-09, when he played 838 minutes for the Hornets in 60 games.
As one of his teammates on that Hornets club, Chris Paul, told Andy Vasquez, Marks' longevity as a player wasn't about stats. It was about his ability to connect with everyone on the club.
"[H]e was one of [the] best teammates that I’ve ever had throughout my NBA career," said Paul.
"There’s only a few guys that come around that can just be so personable, that can communicate with the best players on the team as well as the guys who are the bench guys," the All-Star Clippers guard said of Marks. "I got to know his family well, his kids, and [I’m] just happy for him because Sean’s a great guy [and] knows a lot about the game."
Buck Harvey, the San Antonio Express News columnist, also talked to other players about Marks shortly after the Nets hired him and heard the same thing. Bruce Bowen told Harvey that Marks was "the best teammate I think I’ve ever had," because Marks was always there for everyone.
In fact, wrote Harvey, Gregg Popovich once talked about re-signing Marks as a player just for the effect he and his family had on other Spurs families.
It wasn't just players who were impressed with what one Spurs executive called Marks "gift", his "savant" - like ability to connect, as Harvey described it.
"I think he’s going to be great as a GM," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer a former Spurs assistant, told Vasquez. s. "He’s got a great feel for the game, a great feel for people. That’s probably what you remember most about Sean. He’s just one of those all-time favorite teammates. His teammates loved him, his coaches loved him. He’s just liked by everybody, and I think it’s his feel for people. He’s a great guy to be around, and I think he’s going to really help Brooklyn."
That ability to draw people in will soon be tested in building not just a coaching staff but a basketball operations staff. Marks has promised a cultural shift as well as an expansion of the staff. Then, there will be the big test, starting on July 1, free agency. Paul thinks it will work out.
"I’ve never been a GM or anything like that," Paul said. "But I know his work ethic and what makes him who he is. … I’m biased. Sean’s a friend of mine. I’m rooting for him."