Can Kendall Marshall Be Mike D’Antoni’s Next Jeremy Lin?

LOS ANGELES — The Jeremy Lin comparison springs easily to mind for Mike D’Antoni, but not for the glorious reasons you might think.

D’Antoni brought up Lin’s name late Friday night after Kendall Marshall’s phenomenal first start for the Los Angeles Lakers. And the point was that neither Lin nor Marshall showed signs of even respectability in their very first chances under D’Antoni.

“Jeremy Lin did the exact same thing,” D’Antoni said. “The first time he went out in Boston, it was awful. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Then, obviously it happened to him.”

How did it happen after such a seemingly dead-end beginning? Because something did happen for Lin two years ago and for Marshall on Friday night, when he became the first Laker to deliver at least 20 points and 15 assists in a game since Kobe Bryant…12 years ago.

One of the funniest moments in the Linsanity documentary is Lin recalling being a mere extra man on the roster, asking D’Antoni if he should ship his car out to New York for the rest of the season. D’Antoni’s reply: “Uh, no. Probably not.”

“Marsh Madness” has a ways—and more than one Lakers victory—to go before splashing anywhere near as big as Lin did for D’Antoni’s injury-ravaged, point guard-needy New York Knicks. But no matter how it goes for Marshall in coming weeks, the fascinating aspect to this for now is in the details of his and Lin’s shaky first steps launching into such inspiring second steps.

It’s a meaningful lesson in coaching at any level in any sport.

When growth occurs, there’s always a combination of nature and nurture, but even when determining if a guy has what it takes to play at the highest level, don’t underestimate the need for a comfort zone.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers