Stating The Case For Kendall Marshall To Start


When the 76ers signed point-guard Kendall Marshall at the start of the month, not many fans knew what their team was getting. Last year with the Milwaukee Bucks, he got lost in a crowded rotation. However, before tearing his ACL last January, he showed the same flashes of great play while he was running the show for the Lakers.

After an underwhelming rookie year with the Suns, he was traded to the Wizards where he was subsequently waived. While playing in the D-league that December, the injury-riddled Lakers took a flyer on Marshall. In order to see what Marshall could provide the Sixers, one would have to look back to his run with the Lakers in 2013-2014.

During that season, Marshall was finally allowed to have the keys to the car. Marshall started 45 out of 54 games on the year, and averaged 29 minutes per game. Among qualified point guards, he was second in assists (8.8) where he was tied with John Wall and Ty Lawson. His turnover/assist ratio was good for fifth in the NBA.

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The 2013-2014 Lakers were built very much like this year’s Sixers team. The Lakers offense revolved around a big (Pau Gasol) just like the Sixers will (Jahlil Okafor). The Lakers also had three-point shooters to space the floor.

Mar 30, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kendall Marshall (12) shoots the ball in front of Phoenix Suns forwards Marcus Morris (15) and Gerald Green (14) at Staples Center. The Lakers won 115-99. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stauskas and Covington should both be able to provide the same outside shooting that Jodie Meeks and Nick “Swaggy P” Young provided the Lakers during their season with Marshall. It’s clear that he thrives in that setting.

At 24, he has the youth, size and three point shooting that Sam Hinkie covets in a point-guard. With the offense expected to be built around Okafor, he’ll be facing his fair share of double-teams. Marshall has shot just under 40 percent from three the last two seasons. Teams won’t be able to crash the block on Okafor with the threat of kick-outs to Marshall and Stauskas on the perimeter.

This opens things up for the bigs and allows for more spacing on the court. Marshall also does well in pick-and-roll situations, which is important when you have young, developing big men. A point-guard who can find them off pick-and-rolls will only help make them better.

Some may argue that Tony Wroten should be the starting point-guard. While both are expected to miss the start of the season, Brett Brown has said that Marshall is more ahead of schedule than Wroten. But for arguments sake, let’s say they were both healthy to start the year. Despite Wroten’s elite athleticism, his overall game doesn’t mesh with the starting lineup the way Marshall’s does.

Wroten still plays too out of control on the court. He is careless with the ball and isn’t a threat to score outside of the paint. Not to mention his horrendous shot selection. Wroten’s strengths of hustling and getting to the basket are perfect for the role of a sixth man. It’s a role he could thrive in, and he would be the perfect spark plug to insert off the bench.

The Sixers will be running more half-court this season with Okafor. Marshall is much better at running the half-court offense than Wroten. However, off the bench, Wroten’s pace and abilities on the break would work better with the second unit.

Barring injuries, there is no reason Marshall should not be starting all season for the Sixers. If Nerlens Noel thought Ish Smith was the “first true point-guard” he’s played with, then he and Okafor will certainly enjoy playing with Kendall Marshall.

Next: Stating The Case For Pierre Jackson To Start

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