Fast-forward to Saturday, and point guard Mike Conley, the most dynamic option the Memphis Grizzlies have in terms of facilitating for others from the perimeter, had Marion defending him. While keeping Conley relatively in check over the course of the game, Marion would also find himself guarding power forward Zach Randolph. Carlisle appreciated the true versatility that Marion brought to the table and was able to put it in historical context.
Shawn Marion has a team-high 32 rebounds in the Mavs' first three games, and he does plenty of other valuable things for Dallas.
"If you think of the history of the modern game, I can think of less than five, maybe six guys that can guard a guy like Conley for big minutes and then turn around and guard a guy like Zach Randolph and then any other kind of guy in between," Carlisle said after the team's 111-99 victory on Saturday night. "[Michael] Jordan could do it. [Scottie] Pippen showed that he could do it. LeBron James does it. I don't know, I could probably come up with some other names, but there aren't many.
"You're talking about a really special player, and he really personalized this game. He felt lousy about [Friday's loss]. He knew we needed a spark. From start to finish, he was on."
Marion was on in the form of producing his first double-double of the season, with 21 points and game-high-tying 14 rebounds in 34 minutes.
"I was just trying to help the team the best way I could," Marion said. "With me starting on Conley, I was trying to set the tone on defense and set the pace for the game."
The pace was set for the game as he helped the Mavs take a significant lead on the Grizzlies in the opening quarter. As the game continued at a grind, Marion led the charge on the defensive end. If you're a team that's only going to shoot 40 percent from the field, defense is certainly necessary if you want to win a game. Marion was able to hold up his end of the bargain and the Mavs were able to secure a victory. To top it off, he was the team's second-leading scorer.
"Shawn is one of the best all-around players this league has," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "We all know that. As coach said, there's not a lot of players that can guard the point guard and a big 4 guy. He's a very versatile guy. He's a great slasher on offense. Without him, there's no way we win the championship a couple of years ago."
Marion was a key cog of that 2011 title team and will continue to be one for this season's Mavs squad as he does a little bit of everything. He is the team's spackle. If they have a problem, Marion will patch it up. He will score, he will defend and he will rebound. By the way, speaking of rebounding, Marion has pulled down a team-high 32 rebounds in the Mavs' first three games.
Carlisle threw Marion's name into a mix of guys who either are Hall of Famers already or will be when their time comes.
"That's cool," Marion said when he heard the company in which his coach placed him. "Especially Pippen. I always thought he was a great player, a great defender."
It's not a certainty that Marion will be a Hall of Famer, but at the very least, he's doing his part to ensure that his jersey makes it up to the rafters in the American Airlines Center.
In the meantime, Marion will keep doing what he's doing, which is essentially everything.