When the NBA season started in October, point guard Kendall Marshall was in the NBA Development League, where he played for the Delaware 87ers.
Then the long list of Lakers injuries changed his fate, leading to a promotion. On Friday night, the 22-year-old Marshall is expected to make his 15th start of the season for the Lakers when they play host to the Charlotte Bobcats.
He has made good use of his time. In his 18 games with the Lakers, Marshall is averaging 9.5 assists, second in the league only to Clippers star Chris Paul at 11.2 per game.
Marshall is also shooting an NBA-best 47.3% from three-point range, hitting 35 of 74 shots, and is averaging 10.5 points per game.
Despite his numbers, Marshall doesn't qualify to be among the league leaders in assists.
The league's minimum requirement is playing in 58 games, but with his late call-up Marshall won't be able to make more than 54 appearances this season.
The Lakers' record during Marshall's tenure as starter hasn't been nearly as impressive. Since Jan. 3, the team is only 3-11.
"Getting guys involved is something I take a lot of pride in, but at the same time I take more pride in winning," said Marshall after the Lakers' 104-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.
As a starter, Marshall has played 38.8 minutes per game, but that's likely to change soon.
Steve Nash is expected to practice Thursday, hoping to make a long-awaited return after suffering from nerve problems in his back that have limited him to six games this season.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Steve Blake (elbow) also have been partially cleared to practice and might be able to play next week.
"I'm excited to get those guys back. I feel like they make our team better," Marshall said. "I'm really not worried about minutes at all. When I'm on the court, I have to give it my all. If it's less minutes, maybe I can find a way to go harder in short spurts."
Coach Mike D'Antoni isn't likely to find playing time for four point guards, assuming all three injured players return. It's a problem the coach has said he looks forward to having.
Marshall's salary is $547,570. He's also under contract with the Lakers season at the league minimum, a non-guaranteed $915,243.
Pau Gasol has a sore groin
When the second half started in Tuesday night's game against the Pacers, Pau Gasol was conspicuously absent because of a sore groin.
"It's been bothering me a little bit, but tonight, it started bothering me from the beginning. I couldn't do anything really explosively," Gasol said.
Gasol was able to play 18 minutes in the second half, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Gasol isn't sure he'll be able to play Friday against Charlotte.
"I don't know," he said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
The Lakers had the day off Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant needs at least three more weeks to recover from a knee injury.
"I know it's been a rough stretch for him," Gasol said. "I just hope that he heals well. He can come back when he's ready."
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