How Kendall Marshall Can Thrive When Kobe Bryant Returns

Although the Los Angeles Lakers have been woefully incompetent since their 10-9 start, a gem has emerged from their mediocrity.

Twenty-two-year-old Kendall Marshall has been putting up big numbers and may ultimately become a cheap, long-term option at the point guard position for the Lakers moving forward.

Averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 assists while shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range, Marshall has been everything Mike D'Antoni wants from a point guard. Making almost two three-point shots per game, Marshall is the type of point guard who can run an offense while stretching the floor for D'Antoni. 

Recall that when the Lakers were at their most competitive this season, the offense was being run by Steve Blake in the starting lineup and Jordan Farmar for the second unit. Both players could control the tempo of the game, stretch the floor and penetrate into the lane. In fact, Blake's versatility on offense to start the season was a pleasant surprise for the squad. 

Marshall can do all of those things for the Lakers. While he isn't as dynamic as Farmar, he is arguably more consistent. However, like most of the point guards the Lakers have had in the modern era, Marshall isn't the best defensive player. 

If Marshall wants to continue to be a major contributor when Kobe Bryant makes his return, he has to learn to play without the basketball in his hands.

While he will still get his touches and run the offense as a point guard, he will have to learn to share the ball with one of the most notorious ball-stoppers in the history of the league. This will be especially true even if Bryant becomes more of a facilitator like he was last season.

Marshall is already a great three-point shooter. This will be invaluable if Bryant dominates the ball upon his return. If he can learn to move without the ball and utilize screens to get open, he could find ...

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