Lakers might have a gem with Kendall Marshall on a two-year contract

Jodie Meeks, left, and Kendall Marshall celebrate the Lakers' lead against the Jazz in the second half.
(Paul Buck / EPA)

The Lakers might have found an inexpensive gem in Kendall Marshall.

A lottery pick by the Phoenix Suns (13th overall) in the 2012 NBA draft, Marshall had a career night on Friday, helping the Lakers defeat the Utah Jazz, 110-99.

Marshall notched multiple career highs with 20 points, 15 assists and six rebounds as the Lakers broke a six-game losing streak. It was his first NBA double-double.

The Lakers have to make a decision on Marshall’s two-year, nonguaranteed contract by the afternoon of Jan. 7. Injuries got him a roster spot, but he still needs to earn job security.

His performance Friday night might have done the trick.

Marshall’s contract ipays him $547,570 for this season. If the Lakers keep the 22-year-old point guard, they’ll still have him for an additional nonguaranteed year at $915,243.


It took injuries to Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Xavier Henry (knee) for Marshall to get the call-up from the Delaware 87ers and a start Friday with the Lakers.

“Things have happened kind of fast,” said Marshall. “I’m still humbled by the situation.”

When Marshall found himself out of the NBA, relegated to the Development League after both the Suns and Washington Wizards decided he wasn’t a part of their future, he made a list of his supposed weaknesses.

“They say you can’t shoot. They say you’re too slow. They say you can’t defend,” Marshall recounted after his big game. “So I know those are things I need to be better at.”

He spent a lot of time working on his jump shot, characterized by an unorthodox release.

As long as the shot goes in, it matters little how it goes up. So far he’s the Lakers’ best shooter this season at 61.5% from the field, 58.3% from three-point range and 100% from the free-throw line.

Of course, the sample size is quite small, Marshall has played only 95 minutes in five games.

He’ll need to continue to impress on Sunday when the Lakers host Ty Lawson, one of the quickest points guards in the league, and the Denver Nuggets.


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