When first signed by the Los Angeles Lakers, Kendall Marshall was expected to play 10, maybe 15 minutes a night. Obviously, injuries and other circumstances have decided otherwise, forcing Marshall to play upwards of 40 minutes a game. Often times, he was the only point guard available on the Lakers as a result of a multitude of injuries to Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar.
Marshall has taken full advantage of the opportunity that he was presented with this season, as he is averaging about 10 points and 10 assists per game. These are certainly stellar numbers for a player that was traded away from his former team and then waived immediately after. Nobody expected this sort of play from Marshall, especially Los Angeles.
With efficiency and production comes a demand for a long, lucrative contract. This is something that the Lakers may not want to give Marshall, whose game hasn’t transferred into wins all season. The upcoming class of elite free agents may also influence management’s decision regarding him. Yes, he has played lights-out, but when looking at the roster, who else is going to score or handle the ball for the Lakers?
To fairly judge Marshall, Los Angeles must see him play in a game that actually matters. Along with his positives, Marshall has also exhibited some glaring deficiencies. To start, he is extremely slow off the dribble, making it very tough to guard the point guards in this day and age. Having such a defensive liability at one of the most talented positions in the NBA can be a serious problem.
One thing that he has proved this season is that he belongs in the league. What he hasn’t proved is that he can be the point guard of the future. A role off the bench may be better suited for Marshall.