Would Strong Kendall Marshall Season Change LA Lakers’ Tanking Debate?

Kendall Marshall has Los Angeles Lakers fans dreaming of a brighter future.

At least, he should after a pretty stellar debut as a starter who wears a purple-and-gold jersey. After two lackluster games off the bench, Marshall carved out a larger role with the team. He responded with 10 points and seven assists against the Milwaukee Bucks, albeit in a 15-point loss.

Then he jumped into the starting lineup and was nothing short of dominant.

In an 11-point victory over the Utah Jazz, the former UNC floor general exploded for 20 points, six rebounds and 15 assists. Even more impressively, he did so while shooting 8-of-12 from the field. Before moving on, let's put this in perspective.

Only three players in the history of this storied franchise have ever matched or exceeded the first three numbers: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Marshall. There's the little fact that Magic has done it 48 times, according to Basketball-Reference, but it's still impressive that Marshall is on a list with such legends.

And it gets better. 

Magic turned the ball over at least twice in all but three of his performances, and Marshall's field-goal percentage was better than all but four of the legendary point guard's entries.

Impressed yet?

There's a reason Mike D'Antoni told NBA.com's Dan Arritt, "I thought he had a great pace to the game and he throws frozen ropes out there. Those [passes] are in your chest."

And it's not like anyone had negative things to say. 

Now obviously, it's a big leap of faith to assume that Marshall will continue looking this strong throughout the rest of the season. But let's take it anyway and think about the question that's at the center of everything the Lakers do in 2013-14.

Should the tanking debate change? Does a strong season from Marshall have the ability to sway the decisions about the future? 

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