It wasn’t too long ago that Kendall Marshall saw himself on the outside looking in. A former lottery-pick who after one season was traded and then cut, leaving him the D-League as his only option to revive his career. Often critiqued as a great passer but with lacking speed, athleticism, and defense, Marshall never completely live up to expectations his rookie year.
Most players would start to give up on themselves after the year Marshall had, but not Kendall. His misfortunes only ignited his fuel to improve his game and prove the doubters wrong.
When talking to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Marshall explains how he constantly reminds himself of the critiques of his game:
‘I made a list of things in my phone and things that drive me that people said I couldn’t do.’ Marshall said. ‘I recite those things to me every single day.’
What a difference a few months can make. Marshall is now the starting point guard for one of the most prestigious franchises in the NBA. He is averaging just over nine assists a game, a number that trails only Chris Paul, and shoots from behind the arc at the fourth-best percentage in the league, 45 percent.
Marshall has been one of the biggest surprises not only for the Lakers but in the entire NBA. The Lakers were so confident in Marshall’s ability that they traded away Steve Blake to make minutes for the second-year guard. While Marshall’s scoring has struggled since the acquisition of Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, he has still averaged over six assists a game in the four games since the trade.
As Marshall told Mark Medina, he understands that he must play more consistently:
‘Consistency is my main motivator.’ As a young player, I feel like that’s the main thing i struggle with.’ Marshall said. ‘To my standards and to help my team out, I feel I have played sub-par. That’s unacceptable.’
Marshall knows that nothing is guaranteed to him right now. He is playing on a non-guaranteed contract and must continue to play consistently to earn another long term contract. He will continue to use all the critics as the fire to improve his game. The Lakers can only hope that his play continues to improve and he develops into a solid starting point guard as the team will look to rebound from this down season.