From The D-League to Tinseltown

Published: Feb 01, 2014 00:57am EST
By DaVeon Smith, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 20, 2014 @ 12:40am EST


Kendall Marshall’s emergence as starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers has been a bright spot in an otherwise dark season for the team. The 16-31 Lakers have been marred by injuries all season, none more severe than the loss of their star guard Kobe Bryant with a knee injury that has sidelined him for the near future. With his injury and a horrible record, the Lakers have entered the dreaded rebuilding stage once again in their franchise history. Despite this, the team has shown signs of life through unlikely cast of players including Marshall, LA native Nick Young, Duke standout Ryan Kelly, and veterans Jodie Meeks and Pau Gasol.

The road to becoming a starter in the NBA has not been easy for Marshall. Almost 2 years ago, a fractured wrist sidelined Kendall Marshall from the pinnacle of his college career at UNC. Soon after the heavily favored UNC fell to Kansas in the regional finals, ending his college career. Fast forward a year and the former First round draft pick found himself completely out of the rotation for a struggling Phoenix Suns team. Earlier this season, Marshall was waived after a trade that sent him, Marcin Gortat and former Laker Shannon Brown to the Washington Wizards.

Luckily, Marshall got another shot at an NBA roster in the form of an injury-battered Laker squad, who desperately needed a point guard. After a successful stint with the Delaware 87ers of the D-League, Marshall was signed by the Lakers on December 20th, 2013. Since his signing, Marshall has played in 19 games and started in 15 of them. As a starter, he is averaging 11.9 PPG and a 11.5 APG, giving the Lakers a much needed boost on the offensive end. He is also shooting 45% percent from the 3pt line, which has helped the Lakers place top ten in the league for three point shooting.

The highlight of his short tenure with the Lakers has been a 20 point, 15 assist performance against the Utah Jazz on January 3rd, which was the first of 9 double-double performances for the guard. Despite a locker-room tiff with guard Nick Young, Marshall has brought a feeling of consistency that has been somewhat missing from the Lakers squad this year.

With Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake making progress on their respective injuries. Marshall’s job as a starter may be in jeopardy. Ultimately, the signing of Marshall never seemed to be a long term solution to a point guard situation that has plagued the team for some time now. But with his recent success, one has to wonder if the short-term fix is worth holding on to. Especially since the Lakers are near the bottom of the Western Conference Standings and have nothing to lose. Given his recent success one can argue that he has proven himself more than capable of being the starter for the rest of the year; and for many Lakers fans like myself, we wouldn't mind seeing it that way.

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