When Kendall Marshall was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers, he seemed to be an absolute steal. He was made for Mike D’Antoni’s offense, a point guard who could effectively use screens and reach double-digit assists on a nightly basis. He showed an ability to shoot the three, something that he was often criticized for the previous year. With little to no depth behind him, he regularly saw around 40 minutes a game.
However, things have changed as teams have adjusted. With players returning to the lineup, Marshall has seen less time on the court and is being asked to play off the ball more often. On the pick and roll, teams are daring him to shoot off of the dribble, an obvious weakness in his game. Even his outside shooting, which was outstanding in his first several months, has dropped off significantly.
The Lakers still have him under contract for next season at a relatively inexpensive cost. But if D’Antoni isn’t around next year, then it is likely that Marshall won’t be either. Marshall’s inability to spread the floor or contain more athletic guards makes him a poor fit alongside Kobe Bryant. While he could be an option as a guard off of the bench, he would need the right players next to him to succeed, and it does not make much sense to build a bench around one player.
The Lakers do need cheap contracts to fill out their roster, but Marshall’s successful run in the beginning does offer the possibility of the guard being used as trade bait. The Lakers could look to move him for a second-round pick in a very deep draft and hope that someone falls to them. They could also trade him in return for another role player, possibly one that better suits the future of the Lakers.
Marshall’s playmaking, youth and inexpensive contract should attract other teams to at least inquire about whether or not he is available.