L.A. Lakers: Can Mitch Kupchak's Carolina Ties Land Kendall Marshall?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IApril 8, 2017

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 18:  Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on in the second half against the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 18, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Head coach Roy Williams of the Tar Heels announced that Marshall fractured his right wrist after he was fouled in the second half.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers may or may not be in the market for a point guard next season, but as general manager Mitch Kupchak could tell you, there is a pretty good one available in the 2012 NBA draft.

Kupchak played college basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is the same school that is expected to have four players drafted in the first round.

Kupchak may not have a chance at landing Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes or John Henson, but point guard Kendall Marshall could be there for the taking if the Lakers really want him.

Marshall may be the purest point guard in the draft, and at 6'4", he would potentially give the Lakers the NBA's biggest backcourt when paired with Kobe Bryant.

There have been questions about Marshall's jump shot and his defense, but there are no doubts about his ability to penetrate the lane and distribute the ball.

Marshall won the 2012 Bob Cousy award, which is annually given to the nation's top collegiate point guard. He set the ACC record for assists in a single season with 311.

Marshall's defense is certainly a concern, and even he has admitted that his offensive game needs some work. But his prodigious distribution skills may be the type that can change the fortunes of a franchise.

There are not many players who can see or create the passing angles that Marshall can, and his willingness to share the ball could make center Andrew Bynum the NBA's most dominant offensive interior player.

I know some Lakers fans will be hesitant to waste roster space after the Darius Morris experiment, but Marshall is cut from a different brand of cloth.

The point guard position is relativey new and alien to Morris, but Marshall has been destined to be a lead guard since he first touched a basketball.

You can see it in Marshall's body language and leadership, but most importantly, you can see it in his game.

Marshall's game defines selflessness, and if he can make lottery picks out of Zeller and the under-achieving Barnes, imagine what he could do for Bryant, Bynum and forward Pau Gasol.

With the exception of Michael Jordan and Larry Brown, most players and coaches associated with UNC's program maintain strong relationships, so you can bet that Kupchak is well aware of Marshall's talent, even if Lakers fans are not.

I'm not sure if that bond is enough to make Kupchak pull a few strings to acquire Marshall, but it should at least merit a long look.