Lakers sign point guard Kendall Marshall to help depleted backcourt

December 20, 2013

With Kobe Bryant out six weeks with a bum knee and Jordan Farmar at least a week away from playing, the Los Angeles Lakers finally signed another point guard in former first round pick Kendall Marshall. According to General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Marshall was signed to a multi-year contract.

Because he has upside, Marshall is a good on-the-fly pickup for a desperate Lakers squad that has had all three of its point guards -- four technically when you include de facto playmaker Bryant -- succumb to injury.  A big 6’4” point guard out of North Carolina, Marshall was originally selected 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2012 NBA Draft.

At the time, some thought Marshall had dropped too far in the draft due to a wrist injury he suffered early in the NCAA Tournament.  The injury likely shortened North Carolina's run in the Tourney and cost Marshall the opportunity to fully showcase his skills on the NCAA's highest stage.

Marshall became expendable when the Suns traded for point guard Eric Bledsoe this past offseason.

In 48 career NBA games with the Suns, Marshall, who was traded to Washington in 2013, has averaged 3 points and 3 assists in 14.6 minutes.  But those humble numbers can be deceiving because Marshall remains an improving young player.

With his good size and strength, Marshall is a pass-first point guard who needs time to refine his skills and to learn the NBA's most complicated position.

The downside to Marshall's game is that he is not particularly quick, and needs to improve the awkward-release on his jump shot.

A McDonald’s All-American in 2010, Marshall earned several honors while playing for the Tar Heels, including the Bob Cousy Award (2012) as the top college point guard.

Most recently, Marshall played for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League, averaging 19.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 9.6 assists in seven games.  In 16 career NBA D-League games with the 87ers and Bakersfield Jam, Marshall averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 8.4 assists.

The signing allows LA to cheaply get a first round-caliber talent they might otherwise not have had the opportunity to acquire in the draft.  Because LA seems to now be closer to rebuilding than contending, Marshall should get his opportunity to prove himself at the NBA level.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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