Report: Lakers Sign Point Guard Kendall Marshall

Darius Soriano —  December 19, 2013

With Kobe Bryant sidelined at least 6 weeks and all three point guards on the shelf injured, the Lakers needed to add a warm body who can initiate an offense and soak up some minutes at the lead guard spot. Late Thursday night, they have done just that, adding 2nd year point guard Kendall Marshall.

Marshall was the Suns’ 1st round pick last season (13th overall) but sat behind Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair nearly all season. Heading into this year, he was looking to establish himself as a rotation player but with the Suns trade for Eric Bledsoe, and the regime who drafted him shown the door, he was traded as part of the Marcin Gortat to the Wizards deal that got Phoenix a first round pick in the upcoming draft. The Wizards, however, promptly waived him as they too were comfortable with their point guard rotation of John Wall and Eric Maynor.

Marshall then took his talents to the D-League, catching on with the 76ers affiliate Delaware 87ers where he averaged 19.7 points and 9.6 assists in nearly 37 minutes a game over the 7 contests he played.

On the surface, this signing fits right in with what the Lakers have done in the past year. Marshall has a nice pedigree as a prospect but, for a variety of reasons, hasn’t really shown he’s capable of playing in the NBA to this point in his career. His shooting numbers in his lone season with the Suns were not good and the fact that the Wizards waived him outright is a bit of a red flag. All that said, much Al Davis and Bill Parcells used to say in the NFL, at some point someone thought this kid was a real talent and guys like that are worth taking a chance on. Especially when the price is a minimum contract for a team desperately in need of a player at his position.

As for what Marshall can do on the court, there’s really not much to go on. Theoretically, he’s a very good set up man who has excellent court vision. He offers good size and while he’s not a great athlete, he is smart and knows where to be and when to be there. Whether that can translate into actual production on both ends of the floor remains to be seen, but even if you have doubts about this (which I do), the fact is that Marshall is young enough and still a developing prospect. Taking a chance on him being able to turn into someone who can play 10-15 minutes a night while the other point guards heal is more than worth it.

If you’re looking for a sliver of hope with Marshall being able to see court time soon, two factors work in his favor. First is that his D-League numbers, while not amazing, show he has some talent. His overall field goal percentage (41.3%) is low, but he’s shown an ability to hit the three ball (19-41 from deep in those 7 games) and his passing — his best trait by far — has translated to very good assist numbers. The other good thing about Marshall is that when he was drafted by the Suns, Alvin Gentry was still their head coach. Gentry was one of Mike D’Antoni’s top assistants with the Suns and when he took over as the head man, he essentially kept the offense intact. This should mean that Marshall has had some exposure to at least some of the principles of what the Lakers’ do on that side of the floor and that should help him transition.

Again, though, these are all just hopes. Marshall was a lottery pick from a big college program and that works in his favor. He was also traded away by the team that drafted him a year ago and promptly waived by the team that acquired him. I’m sure the Lakers hope they’re getting the guy with the ACC pedigree and elite passing skills who has a developing offensive game. On the surface it’s doubtful that ends up being the case, but based off the chances they took on Xavier Henry and Wes Johnson that have worked in their favor, maybe they catch lightning in a bottle a third time. Considering their depth issues at that spot, there’s certainly no risk in trying.

Darius Soriano

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29 responses to Report: Lakers Sign Point Guard Kendall Marshall

  1. Sorry a little off topic, but continuing off last thread:

    Wade – dislocated shoulder = wheelchair.

    Pierce – sprained knee = wheelchair.

    Kobe – torn Achilles = 2 free throws + walks off court.

    Kobe – broken leg = finishes rest of game + drains clutch three.

    Just saying.

  2. Yep – prob best they could ask for right now in terms of a pg who will fit right in. It’ll be interesting to see if he plays his way into a guarranteed contract for rest of year. He wasn’t too shabby in Phx – might be a maturing gem of former 13th overall draft pick for the Lakeshow.

    As for the injury bug – lakers are just bit right now, thats all there is to it. Happens to all teams, just the Lakers turn. Kobe’s injury was unrelated to his ankle, just as Nash’s knee fracture was unrelated to his previous back problems. Bad luck sucks but it is what it is. Same play coulda happened to kobe in the 10th min he was out there instead of the 30th – but I’m sure someone would still be complaining about it.

    Say what you want about Kobe’s extension – but imho the FO did a great job going forward – and decided to reward the employee who has made them a tonne of money (way more than they could ever pay him salary-wise) and ensure he retires with them. It was a nice gesture – one they could afford – and the reality is that if the Lakers FO thinks it can load up in the next year or so and swing for the fences they will – and they’re willing to pay for it if need be. The truth of it though is there will be a limited amount of max guys out there who will be available – no one team is going to be able to corral 2-3 of them again under the new rules, therefore it will be up to the FO to pick up a great mix of guys on mid/min deals to fill in around Kobe/Nash (depending on their health) and one max guy. That team around your core 2-3 guys is what’ll be important going forward. A decent mix of athleticism, speed, defense, shooting, and youth ala GS or SA for example. Thats where mitch and Buss will have to prove that they have the chops to rebuild a contender under the new salary regime going forward

    Things could be a lot worse – this could be the Knicks or Nets – who are both aging, salary bloated teams w/ no cap relief on the horizon.

  3. Signing players like Marshall with potential upside is better for roster building than flat lined retreads like Chris Duhon or Kenyon Dooling.

  4. Kinda predicted this and the timing of Kobee’s injury was perfect.

    I hope to see MDA find a gem with an even-faster lineup. Blitz it up.

  5. Kendall Marshall is lefty, quick and likes bullet passes. He doesn’t jump so much even while shooting the jumper. He’s gonna be an unconventional player but one that would really get a good burn in MDA’s system. Lots of passes off rollers. Might be turnover prone.

  6. Its also good to note that he is 6’4 and has decent percentages from three. Mike D’ Antoni will give this kid a career.

  7. Simonoid — An addition to your little list:

    Kenyon Martin dislocated pinky on his non-shooting hand = Misses multiple games.
    Kobe fractures index finger and tears ligaments on his SHOOTING hand = out a game and a half, then plays the rest of the season WITH the injury.

  8. The front office should be embarassed. You don’t bring back a living legend from Achilles injury after 8 months to play point guard, and on a back to back his 6th game back. Frkn ridiculous!!!!

  9. Kendall who? Had no clue who he was, lets see if he is worth something.

  10. I believe the time came to gave up on this season and begin to think about next one. There is too much stacked against us. Shut Kobe down for the season,trade Pau for picks or contracts that are not beyond next season, convince Nash that he is done and move fwd with the younger guys as a sort of an audition on who we keep or we let go. I never thought i would aprove of a tanking plan but the basketball gods are just fixated on the Lakers right now. I be cheering the team like always but the rebuild is here on its own. I see no other way..

  11. Marshall looks like a nice pickup. Young and inexpensive so it’s a low-risk prop.
    Re previous thread-
    Laker aren’t cursed so much as:
    Dr. Jerry Buss was the difference.
    He was a winner and part of that was that he was born lucky and had great vision. He worked hard too.
    His luck came when he put everything he had on the line to buy the Laker franchise and started his first year as owner with a rookie PG named Magic Johnson. Magic gave Kareem’s career a second wind and cemented the Lakers as the greatest franchise ever. Having Jerry West around to help build the Kobe-Shaq team didn’t hurt either.
    The Pau trade was another stroke of genius/luck that helped them to two more championships.
    Dr. Buss was a genius who let West and later Phil do their jobs and do them well.
    The dark side is this.
    After Dr. Buss left us, almost immediately, our luck changed. Nash went down. Then Dwight and Kobe squabbled instead of supporting each other.
    Then Kobe tore his Achilles insuring our quick playoff exit. More Nash issues this season, Blake and Farmar injuries, and now Kobe goes down again?
    Life is funny and Dr. Buss had it all.
    Unfortunately, you don’t get to pass genius and vision and luck all rolled into one onto your kids and in fact it’s almost impossible for the child of genius to look good in comparison.
    You can look at Michael Jordan’s son’s basketball career, Kareem’s son’s career to see it. Genius like Dr. Buss’ doesn’t get passed on.
    Years ago I mused that when the trio of Chick Hearn, Jerry West and Jerry Buss was finally gone, the Lakers wouldn’t be the same.
    Welcome to your new Lakers.

  12. WWL,

    Thanks for the breakdown on Kendall Marshall. Although I was familiar with the name, I certainly wasn’t familiar with his game.

    With that being the case, regardless of how talented he actually is, if given the opportunity, I’m pretty sure he’ll look good due to the system that D’Antoni runs. Which, as everyone knows, is perimeter oriented and based on the principles of ball movement. This is a move that the FO should’ve made immediately after SB went down and I, along with a few others, stated so at the time.

  13. Fern

    Kendall could be a steal. Very good passer and at 6’4′ a good defender. Saw him play a few times at Pheonix and surprised they moved him. Once Jordan comes back it’s a good combo,

    As for Kobe, too soon to much . If they didn’t play him at PG in back to backs and slowly brought him back I feel this doesn’t happen. Only should have been used as a spot up shooter first month , less ball handling and less contact.

    Do you see Phil or Pop treating the franchise like that? Could have brought Marshall or Morris up the day Blake went out. Weak coaching.

    Team wasen’t more them a 42 win team with this defense anyway. New players , new coach and health Kobe without Nash and Pau next year has always been our reality.

  14. - Laker’s sign Kendall ” What the Hell, we have nothing to lose” Marshall. I receive NBA text alerts, this signing didn’t register. Apparently nothing is realistically expected, so if anything positive happens, it’s a win.
    – No surprise, lots of Monday morning quarterbacking going on over the big salary cap hit the Laker front office “misused” on Kobe. That conversation will be on more lips and for a longer time than “Laker hating Dwight” talk.
    – Amnesty reconsideration anyone?
    – Considering Kobe’s age, mileage, and recent injuries; in baseball terms, Kobe just heard the ump say “strike two”.

  15. I don’t see the Lakers actively tanking. First, it is not in the players DNA – at least those we want. It is not in MDA’s DNA. It simply doesn’t fit how the Lakers have approached this season. They may fail because of lack of talent, but certainly not for lack of effort.

    In that vein, I doubt Gasol will be traded unless the other team(s) actively pursues him – if he goes we should get something moderately valuable to us back, not just retread salary. I think both Kobe and Nash are the type of player that will resist any effort to manipulate them into something and I believe the front office is too smart to attempt to get them to retire.

    It is still possible someone like Henry could turn out to be a leader Pau could follow. If that happens we will be better than we are anticipating right now. Otherwise, with Pau as #2 and no real #1, we will probably float along and hope for a .500 mark.

  16. WWL:    Sorry – there is no perfect timing for any injury – much less Kobe’s. 

  17. Fern,

    From my handle, you can be certain I’m as big a of Pau fan as anyone, but the sad truth is that his value as an expiring contract greatly exceeds his trade value. The Lakers knew what they were doing when they set all their contracts to expire at the end of this year (minus Nash and Sacre); unless there’s some crazy three-way trade out there that brings us a top 15 player that we would have otherwise tried to get in free agency (like the aborted CP3 deal), I don’t see any way Pau gets moved. Under the (terrible, imo) new CBA, picks and cap space are like gold. No way the Lakers take on a big salary and luxury tax hit for another year for a mediocre player (Boozer, Merion) and there’s no way any other team gives up picks for Pau unless we take back some expensive garbage they are hoping to dump.

    We are officially in purgatory– that middle ground between being competitive and being lousy enough to get picks. But let me be contrarian– as a fan, I still prefer this to tanking– I get too much joy out of the surprising victories such as the Hou and LAC games even if I realize it may be contrary to the longterm best interests of the team.

  18. I’m not familiar with Kendall Marshall at all. Never seen him play. So it’s been helpful to read some of the above comments.

    If the Lakers get 10 serviceable minutes from him per game, I’ll be satisfied. If he turns out to be someone like Xavier Henry who is on the cusp of developing into a real NBA player, I’ll be ecstatic. (After all, they’re the same age.) We’ll see.

  19. BiggieMG – If you want to criticize the FO, criticize them for something valid: signing an older player, coming back from a serious injury to a long term contract before he can show you how much gas he has left. That is a valid criticism that I initially shared but no longer do – but its still a valid, reasonable criticism.

    You want to criticize Kobe for coming not taking the careful approach and taking the whole year off, fine. Do it. I don’t agree with it, but it is a logical argument.

    Arguing that the FO forced Kobe to come back and, therefore, it is their fault Kobe got injured is pure fantasy. Kobe came back on his own timeline. He wanted to play and he rehabbed physically and medically outside of the Laker facilities because he did not want to take the slow and careful approach. Kobe knows he has a very limited useful basketball career left and by all indications, based on his personality, demonstrated competitiveness and what he has himself said, it appears that he did not want to waste an entire season. So, he gambled on coming back and staying healthy. Was it a good choice? Well, had he re-injured his achilles, I would have said “no”. But he injured his knee. Was it related to coming back too soon from his achilles? Well, from what I have read/seen/heard, it appears to be completely unrelated. Also, think about what would happen if Kobe said to the press and the FO “I’m ready to play” and the FO told him to sit out the season. The same fans saying “he should have sat out the whole season, I hate the FO” would then be saying “I can’t believe they are wasting one year of Kobe’s life, I hate the FO.”

    Ultimately, if you hate the FO, you will point the finger at them and blame them. Unfortunately, there is no one to blame here. This was a freakish accident. Nothing more, nothing less.

  20. Isen’t a starting lineup of Meeks, Henry, Marshell and Sacra and Williams off the bench tanking?

    Johnson, Farmer,Hill and Young are only players any team would want left. Small list equals small results.

    Can you imagine the rating at 2pm Xmas day? By the 2nd quarter people will be watching Lucy Reruns or Chick reruns of bowling for dollars!

    Lowest rated featured Xmas game since the raindeer fought the Elves over better wages.

    Called the Raindeer Games.

  21. Ken: I agree with some of your frustration. With regard to some of the other comments: Some people do not go through a grieving process when stuff like this happens. They merely start moving forward. You should see some of the other Laker boards. Half the comments are people who are almost happy and are looking forward to MD ball again. They are going to be on the edge of their seats as to whether we finish 11th or 13th.
    Darius: I think you handled the whole thing very well with your writing. It’s horrible – let’s not try to even find a silver lining – that said the business of the Lakers goes on.

  22. If by tanking, people mean “deliberately throwing games”, then no. But there are legit moves that can be made in terms of player usage, roster management and injury management that could apply to next year and might lead to more losses. Examples:

    More Sacre, less Pau, and less Hill.
    Longer recovery timetable for Farmar–tell him to take his time, we want to look at Henry and Marshall anyway.
    Trade Kaman for a pick
    Trade Hill for a pick if MDA doesn’t want him.

    But as noted, the issue is that these guys are playing for next year’s deal. Pau will want minutes and touches; Farmar will want heavy minutes. Ditto Hill.

  23. The post above is me,

  24. Excellent point, Simonoid. Those are the exact reasons that has endeared him to me as a Laker. His ball handling skills diminished exponentially the year that he continued playing with busted fingers. I’m sure that his bones fused together awkwardly (see Larry Bird) preventing his control of the ball on the move. It didn’t effect his shooting as much because he just adjusted his shot. That’s Kobe!!! Do what ever it takes to stay relevant on the floor. Some may say that Kobe is a selfish basketball player that refuses to pass the ball to players on his team, but no one can question his need to be on the floor and love of the game. These are the very reasons that I have cherished his time in a Lakers uniform. Have I screamed at Kobe when he slapped his hands together when he didn’t get the ball, yes! Have I slapped my head for Kobe to pass the ball when he shoots with three players on him, yes! More so…have I marveled at his conditioning, five championships, will to win, play through injuries, two free throws with a torn Achilles, 81 point game, six 50 point games, playing with a break in his knee after playing 4 games in 5 nights, emphatically yes!

    So should the front office have given him 24 million for two years, after sustaining an injury that would have made any other player on this planet retire? One thing the owners of the Lakers knows and understands, is that Kobe would not sign the contract and sit on his but collecting pay checks. If he could step on the floor and shoot one shot on one leg to win the game, he would do that!

    #Thegreatest2playhisentirecareerwiththeLakers

  25. Marshall should fit in perfectly with this team. There is something to be said for players that are close in age, with no one having a position of superiority based on being a franchise player. To a man they are provided an opportunity to grow and improve their NBA status without any locker room contention. I still think that Seth Curry would be a perfect candidate for the SSOL offense that this coach would like to implement.

  26. I don’t think Kobe getting injured is a good thing, regardless of him meshing with the roster or not. We need everyone healthy and then make our selections. I feel bad for him, but as it was said above, we move on…

    And if we fail because we lack talent, then so be it. Let’s not fail because of a lack of effort. I want to see the guys giving everything they have even in a losing effort.

  27. rr: If by tanking, people mean “deliberately throwing games”, then no. But there are legit moves that can be made in terms of player usage, roster management and injury management that could apply to next year and might lead to more losses.

    Completely agree that the Lakers are being penny wise and pound foolish. Yes, the FO/MDA can pull out all the stops and get an 8th seed, but why? Kobe’s injuries give them complete cover to fall out of the playoff hunt, play the lottery jackpot and hope for a jackpot.

    Virtually every basketball analyst worth their salt realizes that the Lakers are pushing on a string with this roster. There is no benefit to just barely making the playoffs. Yes, rebuilding means losing and this can be painful. It should be noted that the Lakers are not exempt from the realities of the current CBA.

  28. Seth Curry: As a Santa Cruz resident, I can assure you he belongs on the Santa Cruz Warriors. Not an NBA talent at all. Last season the SC Warriors had Blake Griffin’s bro. Sells tickets maybe.

  29. @Ken about this Marshall guy i dont know anything about him so i just expect the worse, about Kobe we had no choice about playing him at the pg bc we have 0 point guards, if we had at least 1 of them available the load on him would been lighter. @ lil Pau dont get me wrong i love the big Spaniard but im afraid he will revert back without Kobe there to push him. About his trade value well it could be a matter of timing with the right trade to some contender, its just too much damn luck all at once for this team. You are 100% correct about all this expiring contracts that was the goal since 2009, and dont get me started on the CP non trade, im a firm believer in survival of the fittest in the NBA if you cant build a team sell the team and get the hell out why you have to level the field with teams that can? Its the organizations that win or lose not some bs parity or big vs small market nonsense, the Lakers have won being in a big market, the Knicks are in a huge market and are a mess since forever, the Bulls havent won anything before and after MJ all that big vs small market is just bs to me, Detroit, SA, Dallas are not markets the size of the 3 above and they won championships. What im triying to say is is up to the owners figure out how to win new CBAs or not players are not going to Milwakee or Cleveland. In other words CBAs sucks.